By Mandeep Singh Sethi, Physiotherapist

Physiotherapy manual therapy is the “hands-on” treatment provided in physiotherapy appointments.

Manual therapy has a long history within the profession of physiotherapy. Physiotherapists have greatly contributed to the current diversity in manual therapy approaches and techniques.

Contemporary research reveals intricate neurophysiologic mechanisms are also at play and the beneficial psychological effects you can experience.

Manual therapy is often combined with exercise therapy to help maintain the benefits.

 Manual therapy techniques may include:

  • Active assisted range of motion (AAROM): a client moves a joint through their available range of motion while the therapist gives assistance to achieve as much range as possible
  • Passive range of motion (PROM): a therapist moves a client’s joint through the available range of motion with no assistance from the client
  • Passive stretching: a therapist places a muscle in a lengthened position and provides a static sustained hold for a duration of time
  • Soft tissue therapy: manipulation of the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments or fascia) through direct physical contact (e.g. hands, forearm, elbow). Therapist will use different pressures and depths to act on the soft tissue
  • Manual traction: providing a distraction force on a joint to allow for decompression or gapping to occur in the joint space
  • Joint mobilizations: specific passive movements working directly on the movement at joint surfaces through different velocities and amplitudes
  • Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM): use of specific tools to eliminate soft tissue and myofascial restrictions
  • Trigger point release: trigger points are palpable nodules that create taut bands in the muscle. Trigger point release is the act of applying pressure to these taut bands to ‘release’ or remove these nodules
  • Myofascial release technique (MRT): application of consistent pressure to restrictions in the myofascial tissue

Benefits of manual therapy:

  • Decrease and/or manage pain
  • Increase the range of motion at a joint
  • Promote relaxation
  • Improve tissue extensibility
  • Reduce inflammation of soft tissue
  • Mobilize a specific joint
  • Reduce movement restrictions
  • Decrease inflammatory response
  • Improve well-being of the tissue

Manual therapy techniques can be combined with home exercises so as to enhance the benefits and working towards your treatment goals.

To experience a personalized plan of care in your physiotherapy treatments, visit with Mandeep at WIN health!