What Are The Types Of Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is also described somewhat differently depending on the field of practice of a medical practitioner, whether an osteopathic doctor (DO), a chiropractor, or a physical therapist. In physical therapy, manual therapy uses professional, hands-on procedures, including but not limited to manipulation/mobilization, used by the physical therapist to diagnose and treat soft tissues and joints to minimize discomfort, increase range of motion, decrease myofascial limitations to enhance muscle length, decrease swelling or inflammation, and assist the body in muscle or soft tissue recovery.

Although some of these methods are not as well-known or popular as others, most of us have undergone some kind of manual therapy in our lifetime. Having a massage is one of the best treatments you can provide to most people. Anyone who has most definitely seen a chiropractor has undergone one of these forms of manual therapy. And who didn’t give anyone a chair massage to relieve tension and headaches. If you think about it sometimes humans will unknowingly rub their skin or fidget some other way to relax during a tense moment of the day. Only ask an expert in body language.

Why is the sensation of touch so soothing? We know that massaging premature babies improves their health, just as rubbing a shaky baby’s back will reduce the discomfort felt by gas, injury, or teething. If the toddler’s slips and falls, he gets up quickly and seeks his mom’s all-important hug and kiss to make the boo-boo feel better. The benefits of touch are numerous, including relieving the hypersensitive nervous system, enhancing sleep habits, and strengthening the immune system. We know that when manual therapy is used in a physical therapy environment, scars become pain-free, soft tissue constraints melt away, and joint motion improves. Physical therapists can help reduce the oedema, perform lymphedema control techniques, and unload joints to reduce pain even during the most popular orthopedic treatment of joint stretching to improve motion.

To help you learn more about manual therapy and get a better understanding of what to expect from physical therapy, these are three basic strategies frequently used by therapists.

Soft tissue and joint mobilization

As the name implies, mobilization is a type of manual therapy that involves promoting movement in wounded areas of the body, such as dysfunctional joints or strained muscles. The therapist uses gentle, gradual movements to enable the joints or soft pressure to break up and calm the stressed, fibrous muscle tissue. In conjunction with other therapies, this can help to restore function to areas that have previously restricted mobility.

Soft tissue techniques includes:

  • Massage
  • Manual lymph drainage
  • Soft tissue mobilization
  • Functional mobilization
  • Scar mobilization
  • Myofascial release
  • Strain counterstrain
  • Craniosacral therapy
  • Active Release Technique (ART)
  • Feldenkrais
  • Graston

Joint techniques includes:

  • Joint mobilization
  • Joint manipulation/thrust
  • Muscle energy techniques
  • Mulligan techniques
  • Traction

Myofascial Release

Often known as trigger point therapy, myofascial release requires a therapist using his or her hands to split up and release irritable soft tissue bundles that are also a source of discomfort and reduced mobility.


This technique is intended to relax the spastic muscles by maintaining a particular position, normally for 90 seconds, and then gently moving away from it. The goal is to regain the mobility and decompression of tissue that has been under strain due to injury.

Are You Looking for Help with Your Pain?

Sports massage from Schemata Bodywork helps people who are active or desire to be active. Who can benefit from manual therapy from Schemata Bodywork? Individuals who have careers that are restricted to working at a desk, all athletes that are looking to improve their performance or physical gains, people who have community service jobs such as firefighters, law enforcement, or military personnel. If you are suffering from injuries with acute or chronic pain, or someone who wants relief from mental or physical stress, we can help change your life. Contact us now for your appointment.