Whether it is passively moving your joints, massaging a body region, or stretching a muscle, this type of therapy allows your physical therapist to harness their knowledge of anatomy and pathology while using their own hands to treat your specific condition.

Manual therapy can be utilized for various purposes, including increasing the flexibility of a muscle, relaxing a muscle group, improving the range of motion at a joint, or decreasing your pain.

Among the wide variety of different hands-on techniques included in this rehab category are:

• Soft tissue massage: Stroking or gliding motions performed over a muscular or connective tissue area that help to improve tissue relaxation, mobility, or pain in the region
• Joint manipulation: A quick, thrust-style technique that takes a joint beyond its normal range of motion in order to improve mobility and (in some cases) help with pain
• Joint mobilization: Slower, repetitive oscillations within a joint’s range of motion limits that promote mobility and increase the range of motion in a joint
• Friction massage: A more irritating form of massage that is meant to temporarily increase inflammation and break up scar tissue in an effort to promote healing and reduce pain
• Passive stretching: Extending or lengthening a muscle or group of muscles to improve range of motion and increase flexibility in an area

manual therapy