Nervous System Activation Technique (NSAT) for Spinal Cord Injuries

NSATHi, I’m Ashley, one of the SCI Recovery Trainers at Walk It Off. We use a variety of equipment and exercise techniques that provide a wide range of health benefits to our Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) clients. One method that makes the Walk It Off experience unique is Nervous System Activation Technique (NSAT).

As a client, you are out of your chair on an elevated mat performing a variety of gross motor exercises that isolate muscles of the arms, legs and core. I begin by moving your limbs passively through their natural ranges of motion. When these exercises are performed passively, I am assessing many things including joint stabilization, range of motion, and the natural movement of the body.  I then will instruct you to actively participate by moving or attempting to move with the exercises. I am now assessing neuro-output by feeling muscle activation and observing movement patterns.

The goal of NSAT is to stimulate the nervous system to produce muscle contractions. I will often massage or tap specific muscles during these exercises to help ensure the correct muscle is being stimulated. Some of the stimulation results in muscle spasms. At Walk It Off, muscle spasms are seen as a good thing and are an indication of neuro-activity happening within the your body. Spasms can help to maintain muscle mass as well as increased blood circulation and regulate blood pressure during the training session. NSAT also provides an opportunity to get a good warm-up prior to performing more strenuous activities and most of all it helps clients connect to muscle activity that is occurring within their body.

Every client that comes to the Walk It Off is unique. Repetition is key to NSAT and some clients may need more repetitions than others. It is important for the client and SCI Recovery Trainer to work together to establish needs and goals, ensuring every session is physically rewarding.

Please visit again soon as we talk about our other equipment and their uses in upcoming blogs. Consider subscribing to our blog via email.

Have you had experience with NSAT? We’d love your feedback? Please leave a link back to your own blog too if you have one, via the commentluv feature here on the site.

Until next time,


1 reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *