Manual Therapy: Neither Panacea Nor Gateway To Despair

It is uncontroversial at this point to suggest that manual therapy doesn’t “work” for the reasons many of us have been taught. Muscles and joints aren’t so malleable that any manual therapy technique is capable of inducing immediate and lasting histological changes. Manual therapy can improve mobility, desensitize provocative movements, and alter one’s experience with pain. Manual therapy does seem to change something (sometimes), just not tissues. The research in this area is pretty definitive and futile are further efforts to legitimize manual therapy with explanations that are solely tissue centric. Additionally, while manual therapy appears to “do something” the effects are often either non-specific or experimental designs are unable to tease out specific effects.

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