It’s a bit like a massage, but it’s stroke recovery therapy. Mobilization and stimulation of neuromuscular tissue (MASONT) is a hands-on technique that takes advantage of sensory feedback. This treatment requires no specialized tools, so it offers savings of time and money. It is not a painful procedure, and you may even find it a bit relaxing.
How does MASONT work?
MASONT treatment requires a stretch across the muscle of either an upper or lower limb. The technique is simple to visualize. Imagine your therapist gently holding your outstretched arm or leg with two hands and putting pressure using a thumb on the meaty part of the muscle. The therapist compresses the tissue laterally as if attempting to push the muscle around the bone carefully. This description may sound a bit uncomfortable, but the therapist works gently and does not allow the thumb to rub against your skin, so there is no friction irritation. Also, the therapist supports the weight of your limb so that you may remain relaxed during the therapy. The therapist repeats this 15-second application of compression four times per minute, every 15 minutes for 5 hours.
This short video gives an impression of the kind of techniques used in MASONT treatment.
Another form of MASONT treatment is “twisting.” This technique is similar to the first described technique, but rather than using downward pressure from the thumb, the therapist pushes against the affected muscle using the whole hand. The twisting method allows the therapist to hold the position for about 30 seconds. This stretching technique may also be helpful to patients with spasticity. The first method that focuses on compression may not be appropriate for patients with spasticity.
MASONT is a somatosensory intervention, a treatment that is sensed by means other than the sense organs (e.g., eyes, ears). Somatosensory interventions may help facilitate functional recovery through remapping the brain.
Additionally, the researchers recommended that clinical trials be conducted to determine the usefulness of MASONT treatment in practice.
What does this mean for you?
If you have ever received a massage to ease muscle tension, you have experienced the type of pressure used in MASONT treatment. Ask your therapist whether MASONT applications may be useful to your stroke recovery therapy.
We would love to hear about whether you have received this therapy during your rehabilitation and about your experience with it. Write to us via our webform at https://dev-strokemark.pantheonsite.io/contact/.
The lead author of this study is Dimitrios Athanasiadis from the Physical Therapy Department, Rehabilitation Center EVEXIA, Kallikratia, Chalkidiki, Greece.