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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    John Bogensberger
    2/20/2020

    Nice facility, great therapists. Really helped with my recuperation.

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    Gail Wolf
    5/28/2019

    Andrea and Jesse were both totally invested in helping me be without pain and have working knees. The fitting for new shoe orthotics was quick and easy and reasonably priced. Jesse gave me exercises specifically suited to my body and issues I was experiencing. I feel like I’m fixed!!

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    Julie McElroy
    3/20/2020
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    Barbara Soucy
    6/26/2019

    I've known Adrea for over 30 years, and have had her as a therapist for several different issues ranging from lower back to post ACL surgery therapy. I've followed her from several different practices because she knows what she's doing. Their office appearantly has a great parctice of hiring quality people as well. I have reluctantly been seeing Jennifer for the past 2 weeks due to Adrea's full schedule, and I am absolutely delighted with even the early results to an IT Band and torn meniscus issue. It's the first time in months that I have been able to walk without the aid of a cane. I'm looking forward to seeing the results of the upcoming weeks.

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    Stephen Schneiderman
    6/28/2017

    The office staff are very welcoming and the 2 therapists I've seen are excellent. I really like the strain/counter strain modality they use. I've experience a lot of physical therapy and my results are much better with this technique. They also make use of the BEMER technology for increased circulation/blood flow to support treatment results.

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    Elizabeth Pike
    5/28/2019