Manual Therapy Techniques


Manual therapy is used to treat musculoskeletal pain and disability through use of the clinician’s hands (not a tool or machine). Manual therapy includes kneading and manipulation of the muscles and surrounding areas to improve mobility in the restricted areas. In manual therapy there are several different techniques, all of which are typically painless. The three most commonly used manual therapy techniques are manipulation, mobilization, and massage.

  • Manipulation: Manipulation involves twisting the neck or back to the end of its normal range, then giving a sudden thrust. Manipulation often results in a pop or click, which is the result of the release of pressure in the joint, similar to cracking one’s knuckles.
  • Mobilization: Mobilization is comprised of slow, deep, calculated movements applied at varying speeds and amplitudes. The goal of soft tissue mobilization is to move the fluids in the muscle tissues, break up inelastic or fibrous tissue, and relax muscle tension. This technique is commonly applied to the muscles surrounding the problem area.
  • Massage: Massage uses pressure to relax the muscles and increase circulation. It often helps ease pain in the soft tissue and reduces anxiety.

Who Uses Manual Therapy Techniques

These techniques are done by physical therapists, massage therapists, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, and chiropractors.


ASTR and Manual Therapy Techniques

Advanced Soft Tissue Release (abbreviated as ASTR) is a new manual therapy specialty that is revolutionizing the way patients experience long-term pain relief. ASTR treats pain in a gentle, effective, and natural way by releasing scar tissue, trigger points, and fascia restriction. ASTR’s patented tools assist in releasing soft tissue, and ASTR clinicians are trained in effective techniques that do not cause additional pain or stress to the patient’s body. Learn how ASTR can help you or watch testimonial videos from patients who experienced pain relief through ASTR treatment.