Manual Therapy

Manual Therapy

Manual therapy techniques are skilled hand movements and skilled passive movements of joints and soft tissue and are intended to improve tissue extensibility; increase range of motion; induce relaxation; mobilize or manipulate soft tissue and joints; modulate pain; and reduce soft tissue swelling, inflammation, or restriction.

Techniques may include manual lymphatic drainage, manual traction, mobilization/manipulation, and passive range of motion.

Three paradigms for Manual Therapy therapeutic effects

  • Physiological: positive placebo response
  • Biomechanical and Physical: facilitates repair and tissue modelling
  • Psychological: pain relief via- pain gate mechanism; muscle inhibition; reduction of nocioceptive activity; reduced intraarticular or periarticular pressure


Manual physical therapy is a specialised form of physical therapy delivered with the hands as opposed to a device or machine. It has an important place in Physiotherapy and when used appropriately by practitioners is a very effective set of tools literally at our fingertips.