The Muscle Energy Technique was designed for people who suffer from somatic dysfunctions, such as muscle spasms, joint stiffness, or restricted mobility. It was created by osteopathic physician Dr. Fred Mitchell for the purpose of restoring proper physiological functioning to stiff joints by using the principle of reciprocal inhibition, which explains how muscles relax and contract in relation to applied pressure. MET rapidly normalizes joint motion through a very gentle process that quickly covers the entire body. Proper evaluation and attention to the lumbar spine, pelvis, sacrum, and hips are considered essential for a successful treatment because of the significant effect these areas have on relieving symptoms in the extremities.
During a session, the patient first undergoes a full-body screening to help the practitioner determine the principal areas of restriction or dysfunction that limit mobility. MET then uses the muscle motion barrier concept in which the client is placed in a certain position that will engage a restriction and is then asked to perform a gentle isometric contraction against a precise counterforce applied by the therapist’s hand. As the client resists this barrier, the therapist rhythmically intensifies and slackens pressure to enhance further mobilization. After contracting the muscle for a few seconds, the client gently stretches it in the opposite direction to open up any restrictions. After treating all the joints of the body that need attention, the session is concluded with a final screening to assess the outcome of the manual techniques. The intention of this type of osteopathic manipulation is not only to mobilize restricted joints but also to lengthen and strengthen weak muscles and fascia, restore proper neuromuscular activity, and improve spinal mobility without the use of manipulation. Because MET is gentle, it is appropriate for patients with back pain, headaches, hip issues, or serious physical injuries.