Also known as hands-on physical therapy, manual therapy uses no machines,
but can include the use of soft-tissue instruments. Therapists use their
hands while performing skilled, specific hands-on techniques. In general,
manual therapy includes soft tissue work and mobilization/manipulation.
When performing soft tissue work, therapists apply pressure to the soft
tissues of the body, such as the muscles. This pressure can help relax
muscles, increase circulation, break up scar tissue, and reduce or eliminate
soft tissue inflammation. With manual therapy, clinicians also commonly
mobilize and manipulate joints. Joint mobilization and manipulation techniques
assist in reducing pain for the patient, correct joint mechanics and allow
for early return to exercises and daily function.