Muscle Energy Techniques (MET) are used in order to lengthen shortened or spastic muscles and tendons, to improve weakened muscle strength, and to improve range of motion. This procedure involves movement of body part in order to lengthen a tight muscle. It typically involves both active and passive stretching of a body part with the patient offering resistance at one point in the procedure. There are actually many forms of muscle energy with the exact technique being chosen to suit the body area and patient situation.
The origin of Muscle Energy Technique actually lies in Osteopathy. The theory behind MET suggests that if a joint isn’t 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. There are quite a few variants of this techniques including:
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation
Post-Isometric Relaxation (PIR)
Reciprocal Inhibition (RI)
Hold/Relax and Contract/Relax techniques
Manual Resistance Techniques (MRT)
Active Isolated Stretching (AIS)
Facilitated Stretching (FS)
So as you can see, MET is a broad category that covers a wide variety of above-mentioned techniques, which are quite similar to each other in many ways.
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, the technique is also typically used for patients with limited range of motion, back pain, neck and shoulder pain, scoliosis, sciatica, chronic muscle pain, stiffness or injury.