NMT Protocols – Sub-Occipitals Supine

This routine is from The WorkBook of Classical Neuromuscular Therapy, which was created at the ASHA School of Massage and used to train thousands of therapists over more than 15 years.

These routines are intended for mindful review by Bodywork Professionals and are not appropriate as self-care for non-professionals. Self-injury could occur.

Click here for the growing list of protocols that are available online.

This protocol treats the sub-occipital region, loosening the atlantooccipital and atlantoaxial regions, often in preparation for other work.

Gentle traction of the head superiorly and a little anteriorly can be helpful. About 90 seconds offers a general release but many practitioners hold this for several minutes for a more complete release.

Mobilizing the atlas with a gentle, alternating static pressure is helpful in preparing the sub-occipitals for release. Often, one transverse process is superior and more lateral than the other. work to make them more mobile and evenly placed.


Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

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