Manual Therapy works specifically with the Musculoskeletal System which provides your support, stability, and movement of your body. Muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and fascia are the key structures involved.
Modern Pain Science has shown that we can not force change upon these structures.
Our CNS downregulates or decreases its protective instincts, creating a parasympathetic state, when it appreciates what we’re doing. Assessing the CNS and working with the movements of the body, manual therapy promotes the body’s innate healing power by nourishing the muscle tissue, increasing joint space and range of motion, increasing nutrients and oxygen, and decreasing nerve compression.
Manual Therapy focuses on specific areas for localized application, targeting high tone areas. Using these methods in this manner accelerates the healing required for receptor dysfunctions and promotes healthy tissue.
If you keep up with any health news you’ve probably heard the debates of the effectiveness of Manual Therapy and Massage Therapy.
“It doesn’t work!”
“It promotes nocebo!”
“It promotes placebo!”
At this point in time I find that the safest thing to acknowledge is that we don’t know precisely how it works. Understanding how the nervous system perceives touch allows us to have a better idea than most.
Is Manual Therapy the same as Massage Therapy?
What’s in a name? The two are often thought of as being the same since they are both manipulating soft tissue.
Massage Therapy generally brings to mind full body, therapeutic relaxation work. Slow fluid massage is beneficial for relieving tension and reducing stress by promoting a parasympathetic response in the body. It calms the system down. Or maybe it simply forces us to be still and in turn calms the system down. As wonderful as it is, I do not offer this service myself. The clients I see that would benefit from traditional therapeutic massage get referred to other skilled practitioners.