Manual therapy involves the use of the hands to induce change in body tissues. It encompasses many treatment types, each focusing on the specific tissue – muscle, joint, or fascia.

At Sun Physical Therapy, there is a long menu of manual therapies including:

  • Active release technique
  • Assisted stretching
  • Cupping
  • Fascial manipulation
  • Graston Technique
  • Joint manipulation
  • Joint mobilization
  • Manual lymph drainage
  • Myofascial release
  • Nerve gliding
  • Trigger point dry needling
  • Trigger point massage
  • Visceral manipulation

Therapists also use their hands to treat the skin and scar tissue, nerves, viscera, and even the sutures of the skull. 

In essence, manual therapy helps you live optimally. Those who add manual therapy to a lifestyle that already includes exercise and healthy eating report overall optimization of their health and wellness. They feel more energized. They move better. They sleep better. They live better.


When muscle is targeted, manual therapy techniques work to awaken, relax, or stretch. Dry needling is an example of an effective treatment for muscle. Dry needling targets trigger points, which are exquisitely tender points in muscle.

Other treatments for muscle include assisted stretching, active release technique, cupping, and myofascial release. Each of these treatments work to decrease pain and improve range of motion.

Therapists address joint restrictions with stretching as well as mobilizations and/or manipulations. These techniques take into account the unique mechanics of each joint as well as the direction in which the joint is having difficulty moving. The goal is pain relief and improvement in movement.

Beneath the skin, but overlying all of the parts of the body – bones, muscles, tendons, organs, etc – are layers of a fascinating and important web of connective tissue called fascia. The layers of fascia are connected in unique paths along the body. Fascia enables the body to move dynamically such as when we swing the arms and legs while walking. Fascia assists in our ability to stand up and to translate forces across the body such as from the legs to the back to the arms.

These sheets of fascia can become restricted as well. Manual therapy aimed at fascia works to restore the ability of the fascial layers to move over each other and enable the body to move freely. Treatments for fascia include fascial manipulation as well as instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, such as Graston Technique.

Scar tissue can be treated with many types of manual therapy, including dry needling and Graston Technique. Graston involves the use of specialized tools to target scar tissue. The tools help improve mobility of the tissue in the area of the scar. They help reduce the amount of scar tissue and improve the overall appearance of the scar. Your clinician may also educate you in other home treatments for scar tissue remodeling and reduction.

Manual Lymph Drainage is a manual treatment that provides gentle stretch to lymphatic vessels speeding up the flow of lymph fluid in the body. It is an excellent treatment for pre-operative care as well as post-operative therapy. It is also used to treat a variety of medical conditions.

At Sun Physical Therapy, patients often receive a combination of manual therapy treatments. You can discuss your needs with your therapist and determine the optimal treatment options for you.

Wear comfortable clothing that enables access to the body region that will be worked on. Sun Physical Therapy has spare shorts and linens to assist with draping, but we often find patients are most comfortable when they bring their own comfortable clothing.

Request a Session

Schedule Your Appointment Today to Begin Your Healing Journey

Related Articles

Schedule Your Appointment Today: Start Your Healing Journey at Our Austin-based Physical Therapy Practice

Don’t let pain or injury hold you back any longer. Contact our Austin physical therapy clinic today to schedule your initial consultation and start your journey towards a healthier, more mobile life. Our caring team of professionals is ready to help you regain your strength and confidence.

Request a Session

Schedule Your Appointment Today to Begin Your Healing Journey


15-minute one-on-one, in-office session to discuss your injury & learn about treatment options.