“Hands-On” or Manual Therapy

“Hands-On” or Manual Therapy techniques – also known as Musculoskeletal or Manipulative Therapy – are a range of techniques and manoeuvres.

They are described below. These techniques have evolved since recorded history into the sophisticated system now taught at Post-Graduate level to Physiotherapists. Much of the pioneering work that had global impact was developed here in Australia. Geoff Maitland was the leading figure in its revolution and evolution here in Australia. At the same time Robin McKenzie pioneered mechanical treatments for the spine after a ”fortunate” mishap with a sheep shearer in his clinic in NZ. This was the catalyst for developing a reliable approach to disc injuries of the spine.

This system of assessment and treatment is used for joints of the spine and peripheral joints – joints of the limbs.


Manipulation (in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy terms) is a short, high velocity movement of a spinal joint often associated with a ‘click’ or a ‘pop’ sensation.
It can relieve stiffness and unlock joints that may have been locked due to injury and subsequent spasm. This technique is only used with the informed consent of the patient. Safety testing is a standard protocol when spinal manipulation of a joint is indicated. Dramatic benefits can result with the use of this technique. Manipulation may be recommended for your condition however alternatives do exist if you have any concerns. 

Other Techniques

Passive Mobilisation

Passive Mobilisation is gentle-to-firm small movements of a joint to improve range of motion and reduce pain. It can relieve pain generated at deeper joint structures as well as soothe spasm and pain in the soft tissue surrounding the joint.


This is a hands-on technique that refers to the stretching of muscle and tendon structures. Methods of stretching can depend on the body part. Common methods include sustained stretches or 'contract-relax- stretches', also known as Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretches. This method is commonly used to stretch the trapezius (neck/shoulder muscle), gluteals, hip flexors and hamstrings muscles.


Manual Traction - Manual traction is hands-on controlled, stretching of a joint to open up the joint space. This is commonly used in the neck region as well as the peripheral joints e.g. shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, ankle and foot.

Mechanical Traction - Mechanical traction utilises a motorised mechanical device to apply longer, controlled traction treatment rather than hands-on techniques that have a shorter duration. Traction treatments are either applied on a constant or intermittent mode to a neck or lower back condition.

Soft tissue techniques

MPPFG combines a variety of hands-on soft tissue techniques.
Deep Soft Tissue Massage

Deep stroking massage to stimulate blood flow, lymphatic drainage and to soothe muscular pain and spasm.


Short high intensity massage over a small area e.g. ligament attachments

Trigger point therapy

Sustained pressure to desensitise and release painful trigger points.

Myofascial release

Loosens tight and tense regions to help restore normal length and function to muscle, fascia and tendon units.




At Melbourne Physiotherapy, Pilates, and Fitness Group, we work with people from all walks of life.

Whether you’re an elite athlete looking to improve your healthy habits or a retiree looking to combat painful health conditions, our team is ready to lend a hand.

With team members who speak English, Spanish, Hindi, Marathi, and Sanskrit, we make exceptional care more accessible than ever. Our wide range of treatment options means the friendly and professional staff at MPPFG are bound to have a treatment recommendation for your concerns. Book an appointment today to discuss your health needs further.

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