Manual therapy is becoming an increasingly popular form of physical rehabilitation

Manual therapy is becoming an increasingly popular form of physical rehabilitation, with hands-on techniques being used to assist in recovery from a variety of injuries and medical conditions.

Steven Tran

April 26, 2023

Manual therapy is becoming an increasingly popular form of physical rehabilitation, with hands-on techniques being used to assist in recovery from a variety of injuries and medical conditions.

At Motus Health, we understand the power of manual therapy and how it can help people heal faster than traditional methods.

In this article, we'll explore how these treatments work and why they are so beneficial for those seeking relief from injury or illness.

We will discuss how manual therapy works by applying various techniques that involve direct contact between the practitioner's hands and the patient's body.

We will also look at some of the most common areas where manual therapies can be applied, such as muscles, ligaments, joints, tendons and nerves.

Finally, we will consider the evidence that shows just how effective manual therapy can be when compared to other forms of treatment.

What Is Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is a form of physical treatment that uses hands-on techniques to aid in recovery. It has become much more popular over the years, as evidence suggests it can be highly effective for certain ailments.

Manual techniques are applied by healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists and chiropractors with the goal of reducing pain and improving mobility. These treatments involve manipulation of soft tissue, joints, muscles, and other structures in order to restore normal functioning.

Evidence based research has shown manual therapy to be beneficial for many different musculoskeletal conditions including chronic pain, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain and low back pain. Additionally, this type of therapy may also help reduce inflammation and improve posture and flexibility.

The effectiveness of manual therapy does not just stop there; studies have found that it can even increase blood flow which helps promote healing from injury or illness. With all these benefits in mind, it's no wonder why so many people seek out manual therapies as an alternative to traditional medical treatments.

Moving forward then, let's look at how exactly does manual therapy work?

How Does Manual Therapy Work?

Manual therapy is a type of physical treatment that involves the use of hands-on techniques to address musculoskeletal problems. It utilizes manual manipulation and joint mobilization, which are specific movements performed by practitioners to help restore normal motion or movement patterns in affected areas.

When manual therapists apply pressure with their hands on certain points during manual manipulation, they can reduce muscle tension, improve range of motion, decrease inflammation and pain, and promote healing. Manual therapists also employ joint mobilization techniques that involve moving joints within its available range of motion to increase flexibility and reduce stiffness. This helps rebalance muscular power around the joints as well as improve mobility.

Furthermore, these techniques create positive postural changes due to increased awareness of body alignment while performing exercises. Most importantly, manual therapy assists clients in developing better understanding of their own bodies so they can self-manage their conditions more effectively. By encouraging functional movement through education, guidance, and practice, manual therapists provide an environment where clients become empowered; enabling them to take control over their health goals.

With all this said about how manual therapy works, the next logical step would be exploring what are the benefits associated with such therapy for recovery at Motus Health?

What Are The Benefits Of Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is a powerful healing technique, offering patients tangible pain relief and an overall positive experience. Through gentle hands-on techniques such as massage, stretching, joint mobilization and manipulation, manual therapists work to alleviate tension in the body's soft tissues and joints. This helps to improve mobility while providing lasting symptom relief.

The benefits of manual therapy are wide ranging. It can help reduce inflammation, relieve muscle spasms and stiffness, improve circulation and increase range of motion. It also has psychological benefits including reduced stress levels and improved emotional wellbeing.

In addition, manual therapy can provide significant pain relief for those suffering from chronic conditions or acute injuries without resorting to medication or surgery.

In short, manual therapy offers many advantages when it comes to recovery from injury or illness. These include physical improvements like increased flexibility and function along with mental health benefits such as decreased anxiety and improved moods. With its holistic approach to care, this type of treatment is increasingly becoming a go-to choice among medical professionals who wish to offer their patients both long term results and immediate comfort.

Now that we understand the power of manual therapy, let's take a look at what types of conditions it can treat?

What Types Of Conditions Can Manual Therapy Treat?

Manual therapy is a powerful tool for helping people suffering from both acute and chronic pain. It can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal issues, ranging from simple sprains and strains all the way up to more severe degenerative conditions.

The power of manual therapy lies in its ability to address problems at their source rather than simply treating symptoms. Through targeted manipulation of soft tissue structures, joint mobilization, massage, and other hands-on techniques, manual therapists are able to help restore normal movement patterns and reduce pain levels quickly and effectively.

In addition to reducing pain levels, manual therapy also has the potential to improve functionality by restoring range of motion lost due to injury or disease. This allows patients not only greater comfort but improved quality of life as they become better able move without feeling limited by their condition.

Manual therapists use an array of specialized treatments based on each patient's individual needs; this helps ensure that the treatment provided is tailored specifically for them and yields the best possible outcome.

The effectiveness of manual therapy depends largely on its early application—the sooner it’s administered after an injury or diagnosis occurs, the quicker recovery times may be achieved. That’s why it’s important for those experiencing acute or chronic pain to seek out qualified professionals who specialize in these types of therapies when looking for relief.

With proper treatment, individuals can live healthier lives with less pain and improved mobility over time. Transitioning into what types of techniques are used in manual therapy further emphasizes how beneficial this form of healthcare can be towards one's wellbeing.

What Types Of Techniques Are Used In Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is an effective form of treatment that uses hands-on techniques to help relieve pain and aid in the healing process. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, from acute injuries to chronic illnesses.

Now that we have discussed what types of conditions manual therapy can treat, it's time to explore the types of techniques commonly used in this specialized form of physical therapy.

Manual therapists have extensive knowledge about anatomy, as well as how muscles and joints interact with each other. This allows them to identify areas where tension or misalignment may be causing discomfort or limiting movement.

To address these issues, they use various forms of soft tissue mobilization such as massage, stretching, joint mobilizations, and myofascial release. These techniques are designed to reduce inflammation and improve flexibility while providing relief from pain and restoring normal range of motion.

A key element of manual therapy is patient education regarding proper posture and body mechanics for activities that could otherwise cause injury or aggravate underlying health problems. Manual therapists also provide guidance on how to engage in self-care outside of sessions which helps ensure long lasting results over time.

With all these components combined into one comprehensive approach, manual therapy has proven itself invaluable when it comes to treating musculoskeletal disorders and aiding recovery overall. Given its effectiveness at addressing both acute injuries and chronic illnesses alike, it’s no wonder why manual therapy has become so popular among physical therapists seeking holistic solutions for their patients' needs.

But what exactly sets manual therapy apart from traditional physical therapy? That will be explored in the following section...

What Is The Difference Between Manual Therapy And Physical Therapy?

The goals of manual therapy and physical therapy are different, as each one focuses on different techniques and interventions.

Manual therapy is often performed by licensed physical therapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists, who have undergone additional training and education in hands-on manipulation.

Assessments and outcomes can vary depending on the duration of treatment and the effects of the interventions.

Generally, manual therapy is cost-effective and can be done in a variety of settings, providing a range of benefits.


When it comes to setting goals and understanding outcomes, manual therapy and physical therapy have much in common. Both practitioners are focused on helping their patients return to pre-injury levels of mobility and strength. And both seek to understand the patient’s individual needs and create effective plans that support those objectives.

However, when it comes down to how they approach treatment--that's where things start to differ. Manual therapists use hands-on techniques such as massage, joint mobilization, muscle energy technique (MET), and connective tissue manipulation while physical therapists work with modalities like ultrasound or electrical stimulation as well as exercise programs tailored specifically for each patient.

It all boils down to one core difference: manual therapists rely heavily on touch whereas physical therapists focus more on technology-driven treatments. This means that manual therapy is particularly useful for those who need immediate relief from pain or discomfort without having to resort to drugs or surgery; but also allows for longer term gains by targeting the underlying causes of a condition through targeted soft-tissue manipulation which can improve range of motion and function over time.

Ultimately, choosing between manual therapy or physical therapy will depend upon an individual's particular set of circumstances—but either way these two disciplines make great partners in achieving optimal health outcomes!


Now that we've discussed the differences between manual therapy and physical therapy, let's talk about the specific techniques they use.

Manual therapists often employ non-invasive techniques such as massage, joint mobilization, muscle energy technique (MET), or connective tissue manipulation to help treat their patients' conditions.

Meanwhile, physical therapists typically utilize modalities like ultrasound or electrical stimulation along with therapeutic stretching exercises tailored for each individual patient.

In addition to these interventions, physical therapists may also suggest a personalized exercise program in order to aid in rehabilitation and restore function.

Both approaches have proven effective in helping people reach their goals of improved mobility and strength without resorting to drugs or surgery.

Ultimately it is up to the individual which type of treatment best suits them and will lead to the most successful outcomes!

What Is The Difference Between Manual Therapy And Massage Therapy?

Many people have heard of massage therapy, but they may not be familiar with manual manipulation. Manual therapy is a specialized form of physical intervention that specifically targets the musculoskeletal system in order to reduce pain and improve function. It can provide many of the same benefits as massage therapy, such as relaxation and stress relief, but it also has additional advantages for those seeking targeted treatment for their condition.

By using hands-on techniques, practitioners are able to diagnose and correct misalignments in joints or muscles more accurately than other forms of physical therapy. Manual therapies involve skilled use of the hands to apply force to specific areas on the body in order to achieve therapeutic effects. This type of manipulation is often used alongside stretching exercises or mobilization techniques depending on individual needs.

The goal is to restore balance within the nervous system so that patients experience immediate relief from symptoms while simultaneously creating long term improvements in health and mobility. Practitioners may use various tools including knuckles, elbows and even special instruments during treatments; however ultimately it relies heavily on a practitioner's knowledge and skill set when performing these complex techniques.

While some people may turn to massage therapy solely for its relaxing properties, manual therapy offers an array of added benefits due to its highly specific nature. In addition to providing relief from acute pain, manual manipulation can help prevent future injuries by restoring proper movement patterns in the body through realignment of soft tissues and joint structures. Furthermore, this type of approach encourages clients’ active participation throughout their rehabilitation process which helps them become better informed about how their own body works and what actions they need to take in order to stay healthy.

Manual Therapy provides a safe and effective method for treating neuromuscular conditions without relying solely on medication or surgery; however it requires training beyond that typically associated with massage therapists since practitioners must understand anatomy inside out before attempting any manipulations. Understanding what types of practitioners use this type of technique will enable patients make educated decisions about who best suits their particular needs when navigating healthcare options available today.

What Types Of Practitioners Use Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is gaining popularity among practitioners, as it has the potential to aid recovery. It can be performed by a range of professionals who have different professional qualifications and cost considerations. So who exactly practices manual therapy?

Physiotherapists are one group of medical practitioners that use manual therapy in their practice. Physios go through extensive training and education requirements before they are able to graduate from university with a degree or diploma. They may also need additional certification for specific techniques or treatments like dry-needling, cupping, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization or Mulligan’s concepts.

This means physios often come at a higher cost than other allied health professionals such as remedial massage therapists but provide an invaluable service when treating musculoskeletal conditions.

Osteopaths are another type of practitioner who uses manual therapy in their practice. Osteopathy is based on holistic principles which focus on the relationship between structure and function within the body and how this affects overall health status. Like physiotherapy, osteopaths must complete extensive academic preparation, including clinical placements before they become eligible to register as an osteopath.

Treatment plans will include hands-on therapeutic interventions targeted towards improving movement restrictions caused by muscle tension, joint stiffness, postural imbalances or nerve entrapment along with lifestyle advice tailored to each individual's needs.

Given its effectiveness in aiding recovery and restoring normal movement patterns and functions, manual therapy offers great benefit for those suffering from musculoskeletal pain or dysfunction - however there are some risks associated with these techniques if not administered correctly. To explore this further let us examine what are the risks associated with manual therapy?

What Are The Risks Associated With Manual Therapy?

I think it's important to discuss the risks associated with manual therapy, such as injury to the patient and potential overuse of techniques.

There's a chance that if the therapist doesn't have the proper training and experience, they could cause harm to the patient.

Overuse of manual therapy techniques can also be problematic, as it can lead to further injury and pain.

For these reasons, it's important to ensure the therapists are properly trained and understand the risks of manual therapy.

Injury To Patient

One of the most important aspects of considering manual therapy is understanding potential risks associated with it.

While some patients may experience pain relief and injury prevention, there are still potential dangers that they must be aware of.

Manual therapists should take all necessary measures to ensure their patient's safety, such as performing a thorough assessment before beginning treatment and monitoring the progress during the session.

Injuries can occur if the therapist fails to assess accurately or applies too much pressure in certain areas; this could result in increased inflammation, leading to further complications for the patient.

Additionally, even though manual therapy has proven effective for many conditions, there are times when it simply isn't appropriate due to its invasive nature.

Patients should speak openly with their therapists about any concerns they have regarding possible risks so that adjustments can be made accordingly.

Ultimately, by properly assessing each individual case and taking into account any preexisting factors, manual therapists can minimize risk and help facilitate successful recovery for their clients.

Overuse Of Techniques

When it comes to manual therapy, there's always a risk of overusing techniques. This is especially true if the practitioner isn't properly qualified or doesn't have enough experience with certain modalities.

It can be difficult for therapists to recognize when they are pushing too hard and potentially causing more harm than good. That’s why it’s important that practitioners understand their own limitations and how much pressure an individual patient can handle without experiencing any adverse effects.

If excessive use of techniques occurs, patients could become injured due to inflammation or other issues caused by the therapist's actions. Additionally, this could also lead to increased pain levels which may make recovery even more challenging.

To ensure safety while providing quality treatment, it’s essential that manual therapists remain aware of their abilities and take into account each patient's condition before proceeding with any type of intervention.

What Are The Requirements For Practicing Manual Therapy?

Despite the potential risks associated with manual therapy, there is still a great deal of evidence that supports its efficacy. To ensure safety and effectiveness when practicing manual therapy, practitioners must meet certain requirements.

These include academic qualifications as well as professional certifications. When it comes to academic qualifications, physical therapists should have earned their degree from an accredited college or university program in physical therapy. Additionally, most states require physical therapists to be licensed before they can practice hands-on techniques such as massage, joint mobilization, and soft tissue manipulation.

In addition to educational credentials, physical therapists may also need to obtain additional certifications related to specific types of manual therapies. For instance, some practitioners may choose to obtain certification in sports medicine or orthopedic manual therapy practices by taking specialized courses or undergoing training programs offered by specialty organizations like the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Other professions may pursue certifications through their respective organizations depending on their field of practice.

These requirements are essential for ensuring safe and effective manual therapy treatments while providing patients with quality care and better outcomes. With these standards in place, practitioners can continue offering this valuable service while helping individuals restore pain-free movement patterns and improve overall health.

Having established these guidelines for practicing manual therapy safely and effectively, we now turn our attention towards understanding what is the evidence for the efficacy of manual therapy?

What Is The Evidence For The Efficacy Of Manual Therapy?

The evidence for the efficacy of manual therapy is growing. The alternative evidence surrounding manual techniques has deepened our understanding of how they can aid in recovery. Studies have shown that these hands-on approaches to care, such as massage and joint mobilization, are effective at reducing pain, improving mobility, and increasing range of motion.

In particular, research indicates that certain manual therapies can be beneficial for those suffering from musculoskeletal disorders like arthritis. For instance, a systematic review found that therapeutic ultrasound was more effective than placebo for treating knee osteoarthritis. Similarly, studies suggest that spinal manipulation may reduce chronic low back pain intensity when used in combination with other treatments like exercise therapy or medication.

Manual therapies also appear to offer psychological benefits in addition to physical ones. Patients receiving massage exhibited reduced depression scores compared to those who didn't receive this type of treatment according to one study. In another trial assessing the effect of hand reflexology on anxiety levels during labor, participants reported significantly lower levels after the intervention compared to before it was administered.

Clearly there’s much potential for manual therapy techniques like these to improve health outcomes across a variety of conditions. Looking ahead, what is Motus Health's approach to manual therapy?

What Is Motus Health's Approach To Manual Therapy?

As the adage goes, “When you’ve got a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” But when it comes to manual therapy, Motus Health understands that this proverb is not necessarily true; rather, they recognize there are many different tools and techniques at their disposal—each one requiring skillful hands-on application.

By incorporating evidence-based manual technique into patient care plans, Motus Health seeks to provide effective relief from pain as well as rehabilitate healthy movement patterns for lasting results.

Motus Health takes an individualized approach to manual therapy by listening closely to patients about their unique experiences with injury and dysfunction. This allows them to identify which type of treatment would be most beneficial for each individual—ranging from joint mobilization or manipulation to soft tissue work such as trigger point releases or myofascial release—to create positive outcomes through natural healing processes.

The result? Patients experience increased mobility and decreased discomfort in order to return back to full function quickly and safely. Whether dealing with acute pain due to sudden trauma or chronic conditions related to overuse injuries, Motus Health creates personalized strategies that target underlying issues while providing tangible improvements along the way.


Manual therapy is a powerful tool for aiding in recovery and healing. Its hands-on techniques can provide relief to those suffering from a variety of conditions, allowing them to reduce their reliance on medications or surgery.

At Motus Health, we are dedicated to providing our clients with the highest quality manual therapy treatments available. Through evidence-based practice, we strive to help individuals experience improved health outcomes and an overall better quality of life.

With ongoing research and training, we continue to refine our approach so that our clients receive the best care possible.


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