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 other side of that joint when indirect pressure is applied. MET is often applied to patients who suffer from muscle spasms. Muscle energy techniques are applied to a patient in order to lengthen shortened or spastic muscles, to improve weakened ligament and muscle strength, and to improve range of motion. This procedure is performed when a patient is asked to contract a muscle for approximately 5-seconds against an anti-force applied by the therapist. The muscle contraction is performed by the client 2 or 3 times in a row in the hopes to stretch the muscle further each time.
Muscle Energy Technique is derived from Osteopathics (the study of the musculoskeletal system) by Dr. Fred Mitchell, Sr. and his son Dr. Fred Mitchell, Jr. The theory behind MET suggests that if a joint isnt used to its full range of motion, its function will lessen and it will be at risk of suffering strains and injuries. This form of muscular therapy makes use of a patient’s own muscle energy (the force); while the therapist presents a stationary surface (or anti-force) the patient will contract their muscle against in order to stretch the muscle and joint to its full potential.
Muscle energy techniques can be applied safely to almost any joint in the body. Many athletes use MET as a preventative measure to guard against future muscle and joint injury. However, its mainly used by individuals who have a limited range of motion due to back, neck and shoulder pain, scoliosis, sciatica, unsymmetrical legs, hips or arms (for example when one is longer or higher then the other), or to treat chronic muscle pain, stiffness or injury.