Manual Therapy

Manual Therapy

Human touch is an essential ingredient in our treatment philosophy and approach, and for good reason. Patients respond positively to hands-on work when combined with exercise and education. This leads to faster recovery and less out-of-pocket expenses.

What is Manual Therapy?

The term “manual therapy” refers to hands-on treatment of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Manual therapy encompasses a broad group of sophisticated techniques performed by hand and by uniquely trained physical therapists. These may include mobilizations or manipulations of soft tissue and skeletal joints. Manual therapy techniques aim to decrease pain and increase function. Most manual therapy training programs in the United States are four-year, post-graduate programs that emphasize clinical experiences, classroom education, and extensive exams.

Who is a Manual Therapist?

Therapeutic Associates believes that patient outcomes are better when physical therapists have additional training in Orthopaedic Manual Therapy. The range of treatment options available to these therapists is greater, and treatments can be highly individualized. The added benefits of this hands-on approach include constant re-evaluation of progress and treatment tolerance. Our treatment outcomes reflect this commitment to additional training and capability. Physical Therapists may become certified in manual therapy by enrolling in 3-4 year post-graduate level course work and clinical experiences.

We encourage – through significant financial support and structured mentorship programs – manual therapy training for all of our clinicians. We understand that manual therapy enhances the most important aspects of physical therapy – patient education and therapeutic exercise.


Why Manual Therapy?

The answer is simple – it’s proven to get you better, faster. While we always work with patients individually and only use manual therapy when appropriate, our outcome studies show better results when physical therapists have manual therapy training. This translates to fewer days off work or away from your favorite activity, and less out-of-pocket expenses.

  • Quality Care – Our outcome studies show better results when physical therapists have manual therapy training. Additional education and training reflects our commitment to providing excellent care.
  • Cost Management – Initial evaluation and treatment are normally scheduled in less than 48 hours. Our internal assessments show if treatment begins within the first 15 – 30 days after injury, there is less time lost from work, function improves faster, and people report less pain. Therapeutic intervention promotes functional independence and can often prevent an individual’s re-entry into the healthcare system. Research comparing manual therapy and traditional physical therapy indicates that fewer visits may be needed when manual therapy treatment is used. Ann Inter Med. 2002; 136:713-722.

How Does Therapeutic Associates Support Manual Therapy?

Most of our therapists receive additional training through the North American Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy (NAIOMT). Several Therapeutic Associates’ physical therapists serve as faculty and clinical instructors for NAIOMT.

  • Interactive Mentorship – TAI offers clinical mentorship opportunities in general orthopaedic and manual orthopaedic physical therapy. TAI has its own Orthopaedic Residency Program and provides mentorship for OMT Fellowship programs.
  • Residency – TAI’s Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency program helps clinicians become orthopaedic clinical specialists. The program may also be used to prepare the Physical Therapist for eventual orthopaedic manual therapy fellowship.

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