Mon-Fri 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Manual Therapy/Myofascial Release


Manual therapy is a form of physical therapy that involves the use of hand movements to provide a range of health benefits to the patient. Myofascial release is a form of manual physical therapy that focuses on easing tension and tightness in trigger points.

What is Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy may involve moving joints in certain directions and at different speeds to regain movement, stretching the muscles, passively moving muscles in the treatment area, or having the patient move the body part in resistance to the therapist to improve muscle activation. The therapist may also use soft tissue techniques to improve the mobility and function of tissue and muscles.

Manual therapy can lead to physiological, biomechanical, and psychological benefits.

  1. Physiological: Induce a positive placebo response.
  2. Biomechanical: Facilitate repair and tissue modeling
  3. Psychological: Pain relief, muscle inhibition, reduced nociceptive activity, reduced intra articular or periarticular pressure

Benefits of Manual Therapy

When properly done, manual therapy can help:

  • Improve tissue extensibility
  • Increase range of motion of the joint complex
  • Mobilize or manipulate soft tissues and joints
  • Provide relaxation
  • Adjust muscle function
  • Manage pain
  • Minimize soft tissue swelling, inflammation, or movement restrictions

Types of Manual Therapy Techniques

Depending on the patient’s condition, the physical therapist may use one or more of the following manual therapy techniques:

  • Traction
  • Massage
  • Trigger Point Therapy
  • Active Release
  • Assisted Active Range of Motion (AAROM)
  • Passive Range of Motion

What is Myofascial Release?

Myofascial release is a form of physical therapy that focuses on easing tension and tightness in trigger points to reduce pain in patients diagnosed with myofascial pain syndrome. This condition is a chronic pain disorder characterized by sensitivity and tightness in the myofascial tissues. Pain typically originates from specific points in the myofascial tissues, commonly referred to as “trigger points.”

Myofascial release is typically performed over a broad range of muscles and tissue, rather than at one single point.

What to Expect During Myofascial Release Therapy

Myofascial release therapy is typically offered during a massage therapy session, though some chiropractors and traditional medical practitioners may also provide this form of treatment.

During treatment, the therapist will massage the myofascial and feel for stiff or tense areas. The therapist will then apply light manual pressure to massage and stretch the areas that feel rigid, to aid the tissue and supportive sheath in releasing pressure and tightness. This process will be repeated several times on the same trigger point until the tension is released completely.

The Risks of Myofascial Release Therapy

Myofascial release therapy may cause:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Temporary paralysis
  • Difficulty moving muscles while the treatment area heals
  • Allergic reaction to oils, gels, or lotions
  • Nerve damage

This form of physical therapy may not be ideal for patients with:

  • Burns, injuries, or wounds
  • Fractures or broken bones
  • Fragile or weak bones
  • Deep vein thrombosis or deep vein issues

Myofascial release therapy may be contraindicated for patients taking blood-thinning medications.

Patients should speak to their doctor to find out if manual therapy and/or myofascial release therapy is right for them.


At OC Physical Therapy, patients receive a customized treatment plan to help them fully recover from injuries and overuse. Our dedicated team of physical therapists seeks to provide you with better overall health through quality care.
Office Hours
  • Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed

    Our Locations
    Address: 18102 Sky Park Circle South,
    Suite D,
    Irvine, CA 92614

    Address: 26921 Crown Valley Pkwy
    Suite 201
    Mission Viejo, CA 92691

    Address: 29300 Portola Parkway #A,
    Lake Forest, CA 92630

    (949) 333-2224
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