In connection with the increase in the number of patients with diseases of the musculoskeletal system in medical practice, a large number of new techniques have been observed in recent years. The manual therapy is associated with a field of medical practice, representing a complex system of manual medical methods aimed at restoring physiological statics, dynamics, and biomechanics of spine (Voogt et al., 2015). In other words, the manual therapy means treatment of spine with hands. The modern manual medicine integrates the achievements of neurology, orthopedics, biomechanics, and neurophysiology.
There are several techniques of manual therapy, each of which serves as a separate treatment options and depends on certain needs of a patient. For example, the technique of subcutaneous myofascial release therapy is based on various methods that are successfully used in the therapy of diseases associated with pathological changes in the subcutaneous fat layer, the muscular apparatus, and fascia. The technique of arthro-vertebral therapy aims at the complete restoration of the functions of the affected joints (Abbott et al., 2013).
In the framework of the above technique, a purposeful and intensive massage is used. The cranial technique of manipulation implies treatment for diseases associated with the brain. In this case, a specialist works with the muscles of the neck and the joints of the skull of a patient to improve the blood supply relieve tension in the muscles of the neck, and enhance brain function (Fernandez-de-las-Penas & Courtney, 2014). In addition, the visceral technique of manual therapy provides a therapeutic effect on the internal organs of a patient, including heart, lungs, kidneys, intestines, genital organs, etc., making significant effects on the general condition and performance of one’s body systems.
Scope of Practice and Treatment
According to the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP), the national membership association of the US, which provides guidelines on how to become a Certified Spinal Manual Therapist (CSMT), there are several training options. In particular, an applicant should take special courses on the spinal column, pass the certification examination, and have an intensive hands-on experience.
However, it should be noted that there are several institutions, each of which may have different requirements. For example, Ola Grimsby Institute, the Institute of Physical Art, and the University of St. Augustine can be noted as highly acclaimed manual therapy certification institutions. More to the point, the manual therapy techniques identified earlier in this paper also require specific training and treatment claims that practitioners should take into account.
In the recent study by Fernandez-de-las-Penas and Courtney (2014), the advantageous effects of manual therapy on headache are proposed based on various case studies. The authors of this research state that the central nervous system hypersensitivity can be successfully addressed with the help of trigger point therapy and joint mobilization.
The sensitive manual impact on bones of the skull and neck as well as on the upper spine relaxes the muscles and helps the musculoligamentous apparatus to take a correct and natural position. This facilitates recovery and eliminates pain syndrome. As a result of such exposure, the circulation of blood and intracerebral fluid are properly and naturally triggered, which helps to reduce headaches. Furthermore, the methods of modern manual therapy on the human body are completely safe that is confirmed by numerous studies and the recognition of manual therapy by the World Health Organization as an official method of treatment.
Abbott, J. H., Robertson, M. C., Chapple, C., Pinto, D., Wright, A. A., de la Barra, S. L.,… Campbell, A. J. (2013). Manual therapy, exercise therapy, or both, in addition to usual care, for osteoarthritis of the hip or knee: A randomized controlled trial. 1: Clinical effectiveness. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 21(4), 525-534.
Fernandez-de-las-Penas, C., & Courtney, C. A. (2014). Clinical reasoning for manual therapy management of tension type and cervicogenic headache. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 22(1), 45-51.
Voogt, L., de Vries, J., Meeus, M., Struyf, F., Meuffels, D., & Nijs, J. (2015). Analgesic effects of manual therapy in patients with musculoskeletal pain: A systematic review. Manual Therapy, 20(2), 250-256.