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Manual Therapy: Definition, Types, Purposes & Styles

What is Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is a form of physical, hands-on treatment that is used by many types of medical professionals to address musculoskeletal ailments and injuries. The three main types of manual therapy are manipulation, mobilization, and massage. Medical professionals that utilize manual therapy include massage therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, osteopaths, and osteopathic physicians.

1. Manipulation:

Rapid application of force in a rotational, shear, or distraction direction to a joint articulation. This frequently occurs with a popping sound.

2. Mobilization:

Slow, controlled passive movement of a joint to achieve a therapeutic effect.

3. Massage Therapy:

Repetitive kneading, rubbing, or stripping of myofascial tissues to improve interstitial fluid dynamics.

Purposes for Manual Therapy in Physical Therapy

Purposes for manual therapy in physical therapy include:

  1. Decreasing pain
  2. Increase range of motion
  3. Reducing soft tissue inflammation
  4. Inducing relaxation
  5. Improving contractile and non-contractile tissue repair, extensibility, and/or stability
  6. Facilitating movement
  7. Improving function

Styles of Manual Therapy 

Acupressure Joint Mobilization Physiotherapy
Anma Massage Therapy Polarity Therapy
ASTR Matrix Energetics Rolfing Structural Integration
Bodywork Manual Lymphatic Drainage Seitai
Bone Setting Medical Acupuncture Spinal Manipulation
Bowen Technique Muscle Energy Techniques Spinal Mobilization
Chiropractic Myofascial Release Sotai
Cranio-Sacral Therapy Myotherapy Shiatsu
Dorn Method Naprapathy Traction
Integrative Manual Therapy Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Tui Na
Joint Manipulation Osteopathy Zero Balancing

Manual Therapy and ASTR

ASTR treats pain in a gentle, effective, and natural way by releasing scar tissue, trigger points, and fascia restriction. ASTR takes a holistic approach to address the root causes of pain, not just the symptoms. ASTR manual therapy can be done at home.

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Typically, before ASTR I would see patients 2-3 months at the time, to get the results I get with ASTR. With ASTR treatment I get the results in less than 5 visits
Derek Biesheuvel, PT
Derek Biesheuvel, PTPhysical Therapist – 20 yrs of practice
“It is different than other classes that I took because it is involve the whole body and it is backed up by research and it is effective, you will see results immediately
Lisa Kwan, PT
Lisa Kwan, PTPhysical Therapist – 18 yrs of practice
ASTR class is solid and the treatment will change your practice… I feel that every physical therapist should know about ASTR… Physical therapist, chiropractors and wellness professional join ASTR classes.”
Dr. Roland Samaniego, DPT
Dr. Roland Samaniego, DPTDoctor of Physical Therapy – 16 yrs of practice
If you look for something that will get patients fast results and satisfying results, this is definitely the course you should take, learn and use it right away on your patients. I definitely recommend it”
Dr. Amin Nia, DC
Dr. Amin Nia, DCDoctor of Chiropractic – 28 yrs of practice
I have been looking for something like ASTR since then, for 32 years!….You have to take this class from Dr. Jacobs, these are the best results and I have looked at everything else and tried and eventually nothing worked and this is stunning!”
Dr. Charles Hough, DC
Dr. Charles Hough, DCDoctor of Chiropractic – 32 yrs of practice
“From chiropractic school we taught to treat the whole body and this is a system (ASTR) that does that in very efficiently way with immediate results
Dr. Gary Wat, DC
Dr. Gary Wat, DCDoctor of Chiropractic – 14 yrs of practice
“I have been in the physical therapy industry for over 3 yrs now. 6 months ago, I started working with Dr.Jacobs and I have to say that I have never witness such a successful rate of patient recovery as I have here. Dr Joseph Jacobs definitely knows how to get to the root of the patients ailment by his patented tools and methods of physical therapy. I was skeptical at first, but after repeatedly witnessing patients recovery, I have come to believe in his practice. I am proud to be a part of helping patients with their recovery.”
DeeAnn Pop
DeeAnn PopPreviews Coworker
“Dr. Jacobs is very knowledgable, I respect him a lot….If you want to improve your practice, you have to take ASTR class. This something will be bigger and bigger in the future”
Dr. Niklas Fougner, DC
Dr. Niklas Fougner, DCDoctor of Chiropractic – 20 yrs of practice
“ASTR is a very unique concept and discipline by itself, you can not learn this anywhere else. I have not seen or practiced anything as unique as ASTR. You can not say I graduated and get all the knowledge that I need, you have to try ASTR because it does work and I highly recommend it
Rabih Mezher, OT
Rabih Mezher, OTOccupational Therapist
“Dr. Jacobs is pioneer, he came up with much easier applications that does very quick myofascial release. It is very easy on the patient and on the practitioner who apply it. I am extremely thrilled with ASTR technique. I hope all practitioner doing physical medicine to take a look at this.
Dr. Maria Angle, DC
Dr. Maria Angle, DCChiropractor & Oriental Medicine Doctor – 18 yrs of practice
“I definitely encourage (healthcare providers) to check this program and enroll and be part of this revolutionary treatment. This is the best manual therapy class I ever took
Sherwin Gagatam, PT
Sherwin Gagatam, PTPhysical Therapist – 15 yrs of practice