Muscle Energy Technique (MET) is a manual therapy that uses the gentle muscle contractions of the client to relax and lengthen muscles and normalise joint motion. Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR) – Muscle to relax after an isometric contraction (Basis of MET).
To define it specifically, it is “a direct manipulative procedure that uses a voluntary contraction of the patient’s muscles against a distinctly controlled counterforce from a precise position and in a specific direction”. It is considered an active technique, as opposed to a passive technique where only the therapist does the work.
‘Uses his/her muscles, on request, from a precisely controlled position in a specific direction, against a distinctly executed counterforce’
‘…manual medicine treatment procedure that involves the voluntary contraction of patient muscle in a precisely controlled direction, at varying levels of intensity, against a distinctly executed counterforce applied by the operator’
There are two types of MET:
1. 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 fibres.
2. 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 therapist has the client’s muscle perform a contraction against resistance which relaxes the opposing muscle.
Restricted movement that can cause conditions like back pain, headache, scoliosis, sciatica, etc.
Muscle Energy Technique is derived from Osteopathics (the study of the musculoskeletal system) by Dr. Fred Mitchell, Sr. and his son Dr. Fred Mitchell, Jr. The theory behind MET suggests that if a joint isn’t 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 therapist presents a stationary surface (or anti-force) 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. However, its mainly used by individuals who have a limited range of motion due to back, neck and shoulder pain, scoliosis, sciatica, unsymmetrical legs, hips or arms (for example when one is longer or higher than the other), or to treat chronic muscle pain, stiffness or injury. MET has circulatory functions and helps to reduce Oedema.