There’s a good chance that you’ve heard the term manual therapy used in various capacities related to physiotherapy. But what exactly is manual therapy, and how does it differ from other physiotherapy techniques?

What is Manual Therapy?

As you may have guessed, manual therapy is a group of physiotherapy techniques that incorporate a hands-on treatment approach. In the broadest sense, manual therapy can be any technique that uses hand pressure or manual manipulation to achieve the desired result. It is often used in conjunction with other therapies to help relieve pain, increase range of motion, and reduce inflammation.

People Also Ask – What is Manual Therapy Physiotherapy and Why it Works

Manual therapy techniques are an essential part of many health disciplines, including physiotherapy, and are used by physiotherapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists to treat several musculoskeletal injuries.

Common manual therapy methods include:

  • Passive techniques: with passive manual therapy, the physiotherapist will move a client through various stretches and movements with no input required from the patient.
  • Active manual techniques: with active therapy, the patient will move through a range of movements and stretches assisted by the therapist to achieve the deepest stretch or widest range of motion possible.
  • Soft tissue massage: Using varying pressure, a physio or massage therapist will manipulate the soft issue with their hand (or forearm, elbow) to help loosen tight muscles.
  • Manual traction: uses light force and manual stretching to encourage decompression of the spine
  • Joint mobilization: incorporates a range of passive hand movements aimed at improving joint mobility
  • Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization: a technique where your therapist may use a variety of hand tools to help break up painful scar tissue
  • Trigger point release: trigger points are tight or shortened muscles that occur due to injury or overuse; trigger point release uses targeted pressure to help release or reset these muscles.
  • Myofascial release: used to help relieve tightness within the body’s connective tissue

What are the Benefits of Manual Therapy?

Patients and practitioners of manual therapy physiotherapy have long extolled the many benefits of these techniques. When used appropriately by trained professionals and in combination with other physiotherapy techniques, like stretching and regular exercise, manual therapy has been shown to help:

  • Modulate pain
  • Increase joint mobility and range of motion
  • Promote soft tissue repair
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve tissue extensibility
  • Ease muscle tension
  • Advance movement and aid in exercise therapy

What’s more, many patients find manual therapy techniques to be deeply relaxing, with an almost immediate effect on reducing pain.

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How Effective is Manual Therapy?

Much evidence supports the effectiveness of manual therapy physiotherapy techniques for treating musculoskeletal injuries and relieving chronic pain.

However, manual therapy is not a one size fits all approach, nor is it a standalone solution. Instead, manual therapy can be used to help support other rehabilitative physiotherapy techniques and promote healing.

Manual therapy techniques like joint mobilization, massage, and soft tissue release are often used as part of a more extensive physiotherapy program, including stretching, exercise, and education. Combined, manual therapy and other physiotherapy techniques can have a lasting positive effect on patients suffering from pain or mobility issues.

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Is Manual Therapy Safe?

When performed by a licensed, trained professional, manual therapy is a safe, non-invasive, effective way to help stimulate healing, increase mobility, and reduce pain without the need for surgical intervention or prescription medication.