Manual therapy, manipulative therapy, or manual & manipulative therapy is a physical treatment primarily used by physiotherapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, and osteopaths to treat musculoskeletal pain and disability; it most commonly includes kneading and manipulation of muscles, joint mobilization and joint manipulation.
Manual therapy can be defined differently (according to the profession describing it for legal purposes) to state what is permitted within a practitioners scope of practice. Within the physical therapy profession, manual therapy is defined as a clinical approach utilizing skilled, specific hands-on techniques, including but not limited to manipulation/mobilization, used by the physical therapist to diagnose and treat soft tissues and joint structures for the purpose of modulating pain; increasing range of motion (ROM); reducing or eliminating soft tissue inflammation; inducing relaxation; improving contractile and non-contractile tissue repair, extensibility, and/or stability; facilitating movement; and improving function.
Physical therapy or physiotherapy (sometimes abbreviated to PT or physio) is a health care profession primarily concerned with the remediation of impairments and disabilities and the promotion of mobility, functional ability, quality of life and movement potential through examination, evaluation, diagnosis and physical intervention carried out by physical therapists (known as physiotherapists in most countries) and physical therapist assistants (known as physical rehabilitation therapists or physiotherapy assistants in some countries). In addition to clinical practice, other activities encompassed in the physical therapy profession include research, education, consultation, and administration. Definitions and licensing requirements in the United States vary among jurisdictions, as each state has enacted its own physical therapy practice act defining the profession within its jurisdiction, but the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has also drafted a model definition in order to limit this variation, and the APTA is also responsible for accrediting physical therapy education curricula throughout the United States of America. In many settings, physical therapy services may be provided alongside, or in conjunction with, other medical or rehabilitation services.
Myofascial release is a soft tissue therapy for the treatment of skeletal muscle immobility and pain. First described by Andrew Taylor Still and his early students, the therapy relaxes contracted muscles, improves blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulates the stretch reflex in muscles.