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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  • Very caring, excellent quality. I have recommended Dynamic Bracing-Physical Therapy to my doctor for his south hill patients.

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    Dianna Leigh
    6/28/2017

    What a positive experience. I was blown away, with how willing to help me they were. I have an old brace, and wanted to tune it up. everyone in town, could care less, but they not only took it on, but made me feel respected. My new brace this year will come from them, no matter what.

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    Chris White
    6/28/2014

    Love working with Andrea. She is extremely knowledgeable in what she does and takes time to really listen to what is causing pain. I have seen a huge improvement! Wonderful for prenatal and postpartum!

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    Mackenzie Ivey
    5/28/2019
  • 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

    Always courteous and friendly people. The staff has worked with me on various injuries - knee, hip, foot and low back. Because of their partnership, I remain very active and am getting stronger every day. A healing atmosphere with a fun vibe.

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    nicolette brant
    5/28/2019

    Love love love this place! Jessi is the therapist that I see and she is super sweet and very professional. Jessi explains what she is doing and how it will help. Darcy at the front desk is always cheerful and very helpful with scheduling and billing. If you are looking for a physical therapy office you should definitely call dynamic physical therapy and bracing!

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    Wendi Soulia
    5/03/2019