I really do not remember much from history class. I mean who needs to remember the death date of someone or when that specific event happened in everyday life. The only thing that I remember is that when one thing last throughout history and it still exist until this time period there is a high probability that it is something that works. Manual therapy is one such thing and has been appearing throughout history and in almost all continents. Through reading records and hearing stories that are passed down I have heard and read about stomach massages that seem to make you feel that you are floating and make your body relax, so weird and baffling technique that makes use of just applying pressure on certain parts of the body and then make the whole body relax, massages that include cracking the bones of your body, massages using some sort of vinegar and kneading, massages that you do while keeping the body still in position and massages using the feet and hands. It is important to stress that I have seen no names for these techniques since they are either just passed on or described in a sort of writing and as far as I can see these techniques have only been given names recently.
So what is manual therapy? Taking it down to its name sake manual and therapy. Manual therapy is a therapy method done manually without the use of the high technology things better known as physical agent modalities. Better yet manual therapy is a physical treatment method usually making use of soft tissue manipulation, mobilizations and manipulations. For you readers who are not familiar with the difference between mobilizations and manipulations. Mobilization is the gentle movements of the spine while manipulation is the quick thrust that more often than not creates a popping sound which is for your information not supposed to be caused by bones breaking. For the therapist reading this mobilization is the usual grade 1 to four movements of the spine or appendages while manipulation is the grade 5 thrust that most people are afraid to do. Each of them have their own merits but these are to be taken at another time. Manual therapy is a skill based technique as such it is not something that you can just learn with just watching someone do it in front of you and then learn the technique by watching. Also you do not immediately get an achievement by just attending one the manual therapy seminars as well achievements are more than often only found in games these days. Jokes aside, manual therapy is a skill based technique with three factors the operator or therapist, the skill of the therapist and the reaction of the body of the client. As such it is hard to put these things as evidence based research and would usually entail another type of research methodology which will not be described in this article.
Who can do manual therapy? Almost anyone can do manual therapy. There are even some therapy techniques that can be used by non-medical people with restrictions. As I have said earlier these skills need a lot of time not for you to learn the technique but for you to be able to master the technique. You see if you just use the technique as is it will definitely have its limits but make the techniques your won and you will definitely be able to bypass some of these restrictions. Also if you are going to be coming up with your own style of doing it as a fellow professional, manual therapist, osteopath and allied health practitioner do not put your name on it since it is only a variation of a time tested technique. These techniques once mastered can be able used to help as many people as possible and even sometimes cause miracles in a person’s life. I have a lot of stories and would not like to fill this page up with them as such maybe if needed some other time.
What do you need to do manual therapy? Basically you need a good teacher to be able to successfully learn the basic of it and the contradictions. Now you have to learn the basics first since originally there are going to be limits to what can you do with the limitations of what you understand about these techniques and also what are the potential side effects of these techniques on the user and client. You will also need an open and mind that is willing to learn. You will probably not learn anything if you would always rely on some protocols and outdated books as such you should be willing to learn new things and as a warning manual therapy is a never ending learning process not because you have to attend trainings constantly but because you learn new things as you practice them. You also need to take note that these skills need to be practiced I will not tell you to always do all the manual techniques to every clients for this will take a lot of time you only need to use what is needed by the client.
Effectivity of manual therapy? Manual therapy is only as effective as the therapist assessment methods and skill level. For the manual techniques to be effective you should first be able to correctly pin point the problem is you are not able to find it chances are you will not be able to solve the problem. As to how long the effect will last you will see that manual therapy is dependent on three things the assessment skills of the operator, the ability of the operator and the reaction of the body of the client as such the effect can be as short as 3 days to a few months as such they are not an all cure technique. As a practice of mine I would usually give the client some exercises just to have them maintain the balance of the muscles and other structures.
As such manual therapy is both a science and an art as is pretty much dependent on a few factors and these things would need a great deal of practice.
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