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Muscle Energy Techniques – A Practical Guide for Physical Therapists. Second Edition

by John Gibbons

listed in bodywork

[Image: Muscle Energy Techniques – A Practical Guide for Physical Therapists. Second Edition]

It surely cannot be 10 years since the first edition of this great book was published – yet it is! In my review of the first edition in 2012, I stated that it was the best book that had been written on the subject – well in front of any of its competitors, including the one by Leon Chaitow.

As I wrote in 2012 (for the uninitiated) – “Muscle Energy Technique is not, actually, anything to do with 'energy' - unless you take holistic methodology to the extreme in that 'all is energy'. When I first encountered the concept, over 30 years ago, I had assumed that it was akin to Applied Kinesiology or a similar method of combining the energy body with the musculature of the body – not a bit of it! The concept was discovered by Fred Mitchell Sr DO in 1948 who described it as “a form of osteopathic manipulative diagnosis and treatment in which the patient's muscles are actively used on request, from a precisely controlled position, in a specific direction and against a distinctly executed physician counterforce.” That convoluted sounding definition disguises a practice that is a simple yet very effective procedure that has helped countless body workers to achieve better and more long-lasting results with patients who have muscular imbalances.”

The Second Edition is divided into 5 Parts or Sections. Section One, consisting of 4 chapters covers the theory of Muscle Structure and Function, introduction to Muscle Energy Techniques (MET), Muscular Imbalances and Core Muscle Relationships. The remaining 4 Sections contain the practical chapters on the lower body, upper body, trunk and pelvis and Applications.

The first Section on theory, with the usual excellent illustrations that one associates with Lotus Publishing, covers the up-to-date science of how muscles work – from the general to the minutia. If this modern physiology had been available to me as a student physiotherapist, I may have understood a whole lot more about muscular injuries and imbalance than I did – but a lot has changed within the world of physiology in 50 years! The chapter on the theory of MET points out that joint range is more important than flexibility (I fully concur with this) and that the objectives of treatment include restoring normal muscle tone, strengthening weak muscles, boosting local circulation, and improving muscle function.

Chapter 3 discusses posture in many diverse and interesting ways, the pain spasm cycle, Dowager’s hump, tonic and phasic muscles and the general effects of muscular imbalance. The final chapter on theory covers myofascial slings (that was a new one on me but know it by another term) and core muscle relationships – the dependency of one muscle group with another to create harmony and homoeostasis.

Sections 2-4 covers the practicality of MET. The various chapters cover the assessment (testing) and treatment of virtually every muscle – all associated with excellent photographs and illustrations, as well as QR code links to 19 of the individual muscle energy techniques. Each muscle explanation is accompanied with line drawings showing insertion and origin, colour illustration showing the muscle in situ and photographs showing the practicalities of the techniques. I think it is the proliferation of the excellent photographs that makes this edition stand out from the first. A picture is worth a thousand words and the author, with his models, makes sure that each technique is fully explained verbally and pictorially.

The final Section is on Application, and includes self-treatment protocols for shoulder, neck, gluteals and scapular muscle imbalance and treatment.

All in all, this is an excellent practical book with superb illustrations and photographs that has been painstakingly researched and written in an attempt to help physical therapists create a new and different dimension in the treatment of their patients. I would thoroughly recommend it to you.

Further Information

Available from and and Lotus Publishing

John R Cross
Lotus Publishing
£17.59 / $31.95

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