Reduce stiffness and improve movement

Your massage therapist might use muscle energy techniques as part of your treatment if you have muscle spasm or limited movement in a particular joint or part of your body. It’s a hands-on technique which involves gently tightening your muscles against the pressure of your therapist’s hand for a few seconds and then a slow stretch being applied afterwards as you relax your muscles again.

Muscle energy techniques work by changing the muscle’s normal reaction to stretch – to reflexively tighten – by making them relax instead. This technique allows your therapist to exploit the relaxed state of the muscle to move you into a deeper stretch. It’s thought to be one of the most effective ways of restoring joint motion and lengthening tight muscles. You’ll see the difference in your movement straight away.

What conditions are helped by Muscle energy techniques

Muscle energy techniques can be applied safely to almost all joints and muscles in your body but it’s most often used to treat the muscles whose main job it is to keep you upright against gravity (your postural muscles).


The therapists at our Cambridge clinic generally use muscle energy techniques in combination with other treatments to achieve the best outcome.

They are usually recommended for people with specific clinical problems like:

  • Back and neck stiffness
  • Chronic muscle pain
  • Sciatica
  • Scoliosis
  • Difference in leg length

Lots of athletes also incorporate them into their training to improve or maintain good levels of flexibility which will help prevent sports injuries from developing in the first place too.

How to get the most out of a muscle energy treatment

To get the most out of your treatment, our massage therapists will often recommend stretches or exercises to maintain the good work and help you continue to make progress safely between your appointments. These will be emailed to you with video links, so you can be sure you are practicing them correctly.

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