Manual Therapy

Manual therapy (sometimes called bodywork) is a general term for treatment performed mostly with the hands. The goals of manual therapy include relaxation, decreased pain, and increased flexibility.

Manual therapy can include:

  • Massage. Pressure is applied to the soft tissues of the body, such as the muscles. Massage can help relax muscles, increase circulation, and ease pain in the soft tissues.
  • Mobilization. Slow, measured movements are used to twist, pull, or push bones and joints into position. This can help loosen tight tissues around a joint and help with flexibility and alignment.
  • Manipulation. Pressure is applied to a joint. It can be done with the hands or a special device. The careful, controlled force used on the joint can range from gentle to strong, and from slow to rapid.

Last Revised: January 30, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics

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