Muscle Energy Techniques

Muscle Energy Technique (MET)


Muscle Energy Technique (MET) is a manual therapy that uses the gentle muscle contractions of the patient to relax and lengthen muscles and normalize joint motion.

To define it specifically, it is “a direct manipulative procedure that uses a voluntary contraction of the patient’s muscles against a distinctly controlled counter-force from a precise position and in a specific direction”. It is considered an active technique, as opposed to a passive technique where only the massage therapist does the work.

MET is based on the principle of reciprocal inhibition, a theory that explains that muscles on one side of a joint will always relax to accommodate the contraction of muscles on the other side of that joint when indirect pressure is applied. MET is often applied to patients who suffer from muscle spasms. The process of lengthening shortened or spastic muscles, to improve weakened ligament and muscle strength, will directly improve range of motion. This procedure is performed when a patient is asked to contract a muscle for approximately 5-seconds against the resistant force applied by the massage therapist. The muscle contraction is performed by the client 3 to 5 times in a row in the hopes to stretch the muscle further each time.

Muscle Energy Technique is derived from the theory that if a joint is not used to its full range of motion, its function will lessen and it will be at risk of suffering strains and injuries. This form of muscular therapy makes use of a patient’s own muscle energy (the force); while the massage therapist presents a stationary surface (resistance) the patient will contract their muscle against in order to stretch the muscle and joint to its full potential.

Muscle energy techniques can be applied safely to almost any joint in the body. Many athletes use MET as a preventative measure to guard against future muscle and joint injury. It is mainly used by individuals who have a limited range of motion due to facet joint dysfunction in the neck and back, and for broader areas such as; shoulder pain, scoliosis, sciatica, unsymmetrical legs, hips or arms (for example when one is longer or higher then the other), or to treat chronic muscle pain, stiffness or injury.

There are two types of MET:

  • Post-Isometric Relaxation (PIR) The therapist stretches and lengthens a muscle as it relaxes right after a client contraction. This lengthens, relaxes and realigns the muscle fibers. This is useful with chronic conditions to assist in resetting the muscle tone.

  • Reciprocal Inhibition (RI) It is a law of body dynamics that when you contract a muscle the opposing or reciprocal muscle must relax. That is the way the brain is wired and the principle that makes this technique work. The massage therapist has the patient’s muscle perform a contraction against resistance which relaxes the opposing muscle and minimizes the aggravation to the injured muscle and soft tissue.


  • Are you wondering if muscle energy techniques are right for you? Give us a call today. Our friendly staff is happy to answer your questions, help you schedule an appointment, and educate you about our wide range of physical therapy services we offer. Drug-free relief from your joint or muscle pain is possible, so give us a call to get your healing journey started today.

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  • Andrea and Arch are great to work with. They took the time to fully evaluate me and developed a course of therapy to achieve specific goals. So happy I chose them!

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    Rob Brewer
    6/28/2013

    Andrea is amazing! I have been working with her to treat my chronic migraines for six months now. She is one of the only people who have made a noticeable difference for me. And I’ve tried everything. She is so friendly and helpful. She goes out of her way to work with you and your issues. The whole DB Team is wonderful. I can’t recommend them enough.

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    The Beef
    5/08/2019

    Exceptional expertise...as well as service. Their team of physical therapists are trained in techniques that go well beyond what the average PT offers. Every member of my family swears by dynamic bracing. Anytime we have a surgery or pain, we go to them. They've helped us through several post-op recoveries, including shoulder surgeries, hip replacement surgery, ankle surgery, and other orthopedic issues, as well as chronic back pain being fully resolved.

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    Annie Beringer
    4/28/2019
  • Before I met Andrea, I was receiving counterstrain therapy at a different location. When that therapist retired, she recommended me to Andrea, and I haven't looked back! Nobody else has been able to so effectively treat my wide range of issues (everything from hypermobility to severe neck issues caused by a car crash) with such a friendly caring attitude! You can tell she truly cares about the health and well-being of all of her patients, and I highly recommend her to anybody seeking physical therapy or even pain relief from any issue. You won't regret it!

    I have been going to her for over five years now. Her style is to use strain and counterstrain techniques combined with strengthening exercises to best stabilize and strengthen your body. She listens to each of your concerns and can treat both the entire body and/or just a specific area. It is fascinating to feel the instantaneous relief as she works on me, and I always walk out the door feeling 10 times better than I walked in.

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    Shannon H
    10/04/2019

    Since treatments I've had reduced pain and have been able to sleep through the night. Andrea and Becky provided treatments but the entire staff is professional and caring. I can move better and have put off surgery for the time being.

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    Russelle Mazulo
    5/28/2019

    The therapists really care about their patients. They take the time to research and trouble shoot the issues and adjust treatment as needed. Their techniques are not what mainstream would describe as "physical therapy" but it's an amazing and precise science that really works!! Thanks to the whole team for treating my ailments over the years.

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    Ami Veltrie
    5/28/2019