Muscle energy technique

Physiotherapist applying muscle energy technique on female patient's elbow
Getty Images under licence to PhysioQinetics Ltd.


What is muscle energy technique?

Muscle energy technique ( or 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 opposite side of that joint when indirect pressure is applied. It is a form of manual therapy which uses a muscle's own energy in the form of gentle isometric contraction to relax the muscles via autogenic / reciprocal inhibition, and lengthen the muscle.

MET is often applied to patients who suffer from muscle spasms. The following physiological effects occurs with MET:-

  1. Golgi tendon organ activation results in a direct inhibition of the agonist muscles
  2. A reflexive reciprocal inhibition occurs at the antagonistic muscles
  3. As the patient relaxes the muscle stretches further, and the joint can then be moved further into the restricted range of motion.


Lady getting out of bed with neck pain
Getty Images under licence to PhysioQinetics Ltd.


When is MET indicated?

MET can be used for any condition in which the goal is to cause relaxation and lengthening of the muscles and to improve range of movement in a joint. MET can be applied safely to almost any joint in the body. Many athletes use MET as a preventative measure to guard against future muscle or joint injury.

It is particularly helpful for individuals with limited range of movement due to facet joint dysfunction in the back or neck, and for broader areas such as shoulder pain, scoliosis, sciatica, asymmetrical lengs, hips or arms, or to treat chronic muscle pain, stiffness, or injury.


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