Man receiving manual therapy

Manual Therapy: A Hands-On Approach

pt HealthModalities


Imagine a comfortable, relaxing process, with pain relief and more mobility after just a few short visits; that’s manual therapy. Seem too good to be true? Well, it isn’t.

In fact, studies specific to patients with neck pain have shown that manual therapy provided the highest success rates for decreasing pain, increasing mobility and overall recovery!

What is Orthopedic Manual Therapy?

Woman receiving manual therapy

Manual therapy refers to the assessment and treatment of neurological, cardio-respiratory and orthopedic problems through the use of hands-on techniques like manipulation and mobilization. These techniques are used to reduce pain, increase range of motion, reduce or eliminate inflammation and facilitate the ease of movement. Physical therapists focus on the nerves, soft tissues and connective tissue (fascia), and/or on enhancing joint movement beyond its range of motion with the use of high velocity, low amplitude force.

Manual therapy can also involve prescribed exercises—in the clinic or at home—as well as electro-therapy treatments, like therapeutic ultrasound.

Where did it come from?

Statue of Hippocrates, the father of medicine.

References to manual therapy for Western civilization date back to Hippocrates (460–385 BCE), the “father of medicine”—you may have heard of the Hippocratic oath—but the practice developed in different forms in many different parts of the world. Hippocrates, in particular, describes techniques for spinal manipulation that utilize gravity on a board or ladder, and a table with straps and other levers that used traction.

Osteopathic, chiropractic, and medical doctors contributed to the development of manual therapy in more modern times, with physical therapists adding strong contributions to the research and practice—these specialists now most often perform it as a part of a physiotherapy program.

How does it work?

Oxygen in bloodstream

Both mobilization and manipulation use measured movements of different speeds, force, and distances to twist, pull, or push bones and joints into alignment. Manual therapy is an effective technique for increasing circulation of oxygen in the bloodstream, which produces a feeling of calm and relaxation.

What are the benefits?

Woman receiving manual therapy

If you have either sudden or ongoing pain in your spine, neck, shoulder, foot/ankle or knee, you can benefit from manual therapy. It helps muscles relax, breaks up scar tissue and improves flexibility. Manual therapy can also increase your joint movement where a range of motion has been previously restricted, and reduce painful muscle spasms.


Experiencing pain and think manual therapy might be right for you? Book an assessment now.


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