Neuromuscular retraining is used as part of facial rehabilitation therapy. It was developed in The Netherlands in the 1970s where it is known as mime therapy. In the UK we call it Neuromuscular retraining or abbreviate it to NMR.
What is neuromuscular retraining or mime therapy?
Neuromuscular retraining or mime therapy refers to the work facial therapists do with patients where they utilise emotional input to access better movement patterns.
For example as the patient practices their balanced smile, they encourage patients to think of something that makes them happy. This is to get the emotional innervation (stimulation) of the movement as well as the voluntary innervation of the movement. Sometimes when people with facial palsy concentrate on trying to make a movement it can end up awkward and forced so the more natural and spontaneous they can make movement practice, the better it will be.
Another good example is if you concentrate and try to raise your eyebrows and then compare how that feels with imagining you have just walked in to a surprise party and everyone has shouted ‘SURPRISE!’ at you – the eyebrow raise on the latter is much easier and more natural!
Last reviewed: 25-08-2022 || Next review due: 25-08-2025