7 manual therapy techniques used in physical therapy

7 manual therapy techniques used in physical therapy

Therapists who deal with physical conditions apply many different methods of body therapy to relieve the pain, improve the way it fits into other treatment modalities such as exercises and modalities, and facilitate healing.

This hands-on approach is an essential part of the recovery process and serves as a complement to other forms of treatment like exercising and therapies. If you are looking for ways to find relief from injuries or chronic conditions, why don’t you try Carter Physiotherapy in Austin, TX, where experienced therapists will give you a comprehensive treatment plan designed specifically for your needs?

Soft Tissue Mobilization

This is a technique used in soft tissue mobilization where various strokes and techniques are used to manipulate soft tissues. Long gliding strokes with palms characterize effleurage that helps in warming up tissues. Petrissage is characterized by kneading and lifting motions that stretch out muscle fibers or fascia. Friction techniques involve deep cross-fiber strokes over adhesions or restrictions. For myofascial release, we sustain pressure through the fascia to open up restrictions. Drawer action using foam rollers may be employed as a self-myofascial release tool.

Joint Mobilization

Skilled techniques recover correct joint movements in a process called arthrokinematics. By creating space between jointed surfaces, distraction is achieved. Gliding slides the bones moving parallel to their anterior posteriors. Spinning denotes rotating one bone on another. Rhythmic initiation lets movement begin and be resisted thereafter by those around it. Graded oscillations are repetitive joint motion into greater ranges over time. In line with a patient’s specific needs and limitations, these motions are performed at different depths and speeds by the therapist.

Myofascial Release

Fascia is a connective tissue which encases the body in multiple layers and can be addressed through myofascial therapies.. Fascial restrictions caused by injury, inflammation or overuse can lead to great tension accompanied by restricted mobility. The superficial fascia is lifted and stretched by rolling skin. Specific fascial planes release their tension through myofascial induction. Adhesion release lifts the fascia using suction cups. Cross-hand releases pin down while the other hand stretches out the fascia beneath it.

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger points are so sensitive they can be located at specific regions within muscles where there is a tight band. These trigger points that are overly sensitive may cause referred pain, restricted range of motion, weakness, and other motor impairments. One form of treatment called ischemic compression does this by applying steadily increasing pressure on the trigger point to remove oxygen/nutrients from it and make it relax through reflex action. The muscle can be reset using vapocoolant spray and stretching during trigger point release therapy.


This technique gently leverages or twists the body into aligned positions such that abnormal strain patterns within the musculoskeletal system are removed in an indirect manner. While lying down, the patient is moved into their most comfortable position, where tight/restricted muscles/fascia are shortened as much as possible. This position should be held for about 90 seconds to several minutes, depending on how long it takes them to achieve therapeutic relaxation. Then, the therapist will guide through opposite end ranges in order to re-establish proper length & mobility in that area.

Lymphatic Drainage

This technique, called lymphatic drainage massage, is a light hand massage with gentle pumping movements towards the direction of lymph flow; hence, it boosts the movement of fluid through lymph vessels. It also gets rid of excessive fluid, proteins, cellular waste, and other substances that have accumulated within the system. This is done by placing cups of different sizes over the surface areas of superficial lymph to create a soft suction force that increases movement in the tissues. The process involves both reduction of edema and swelling as well as boosting immunity.

Craniosacral Therapy

In this method, pressure is not applied via more than 5 grams to release craniosacral system restrictions and improve its mobility – which means moving membranes and fluid around the brain and spinal cord. By their hands, therapists feel pulsations in cerebrospinal fluid flow, which are very delicate. Physical Therapy Austin then attempts to resolve this issue by working on restrictions and normalizing this rhythm, thus helping to reduce pain and improve sensory-motor-functioning disorders-related dysfunctions like those dealing with body mechanics, among others, while helping in the parasympathetic healing mechanism.


Physical therapists have a lot of powerful weapons in the form of Manual Therapy Austin techniques. These methods can help patients who are suffering from pain, mobility problems, and other physical issues improve their lives immensely. If you want to get relief as well as improve your functioning, then it would be good for you to contact Carter Physiotherapy, located in Austin, TX. With an all-inclusive approach to rehabilitating people together with their manual therapy skills, they will work towards helping you reach your goals of getting better.

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Elen Havens