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Muscle Energy Technique

Muscle energy technique is used in osteopathic medicine to treat somatic dysfunction presenting as loss of range of motion secondary to muscular inhibition. There are several distinct techniques which may be called muscle energy techniques including reciprocal inhibition, and post-isometric relaxation.

Muscle Energy is an Active (requires patient utilization of force) Direct (engages the barrier) technique that promotes muscle relaxation by activating the golgi tendon reflex. It has also been proposed that temporary muscle fatigue blocks reflex-contraction thus allowing for an increase of range of motion to beyond the barrier.

Reciprocal inhibition

Reciprocal inhibition uses the body's antagonist-inhibition reflex to induce relaxation of a "tight" muscle. For example, when the biceps (in this case the agonist) is flexed, a reflexive inhibition of the triceps (here the antagonist) is induced. Thus loss of range of motion in the triceps can be incrementally restored by flexion of the biceps.

Post-isometric relaxation

Immediately after isometric contraction, the neuro-muscular apparatus becomes briefly refractory, or unable to respond to further excitation. Thus, stretching a muscle immediately following its isometric contraction may incrementally restore range of motion.


  • Ward, Robert C. et al; Foundations for Osteopathic Medicine (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincot Williams and Wilkins. ISBN 0-7817-3497-5.
  • DiGiovanna, Eileen L. et al; An Osteopathic Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment; 3rd ed.; Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2005; ISBN 0-7817-4293-5
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Muscle_Energy_Technique". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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