What is Manual Therapy?

Graphic of women stretching with toddlers
Posted September 30, 2022
Caitlin Williams
BKin(Hon), MSc(PT), MScCl(Manip Ther), DPT, FCAMPT

Physiotherapists have many ‘tools in their toolbox’’ to help their clients achieve their rehabilitation goals. One of the many tools they utilize is a technique called manual therapy.

Manual therapy is defined by the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT) as “a specialized area of physiotherapy/Physical Therapy for the management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, based on clinical reasoning, using highly specific treatment approaches including manual techniques and therapeutic exercises. Orthopaedic Manual Therapy also encompasses, and is driven by, the available scientific and clinical evidence and the biopsychosocial framework of each individual patient.’ 


In a nutshell, manual therapy refers to the use of the physiotherapist’s hands to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal disorders.  

Physiotherapists incorporate manual therapy into their treatments to help their clients relieve their pain and improve their overall function. Some of the treatment techniques which can be used are, joint mobilizations (moving the joint) and manipulations (restoring the joint movement), joint traction (gapping a joint to reduce compression), muscle stretching and release work.  

In Canada, physiotherapists can pursue post-graduate training in the field of manual therapy through the Canadian Physiotherapy Orthopaedic Division. Physiotherapists who continue through the coursework can achieve the designation of a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manual Physiotherapists (FCAMPT). This designation is internationally recognized as the highest level of competency in manual and manipulative therapy. ( https://manippt.org )

At Elora Physiotherapy, all our physiotherapists are trained in various manual therapy skills and will utilize a number of these skills in your treatment plan to help you achieve those rehabilitation goals.   

If you have any further questions about manual therapy or any of the treatments techniques which we use, please feel free to email us at info@eloraphysiotherapy.com. To make an appointment call the clinic at 226-384-1100 or book online!