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What is Functional Manual Therapy™?

Updated: Mar 5, 2022

The field of Physical Therapy is vast, and this can lead to confusion and even misinformation about what a Functional Manual Therapist can do as your healthcare provider.

GENERALISTS & SPECIALISTS In the modern healthcare world, though Physical Therapists graduate as what we call "generalists"—meaning they are able to treat a vast array of movement dysfunctions in all settings—many PT's specialize in a sub-population, taking additional trainings (beyond the yearly requirements to maintain licensure). When you think of a PT, you may consider someone who worked with your family member during a hospitalization or helping a person recover from a stroke; an athlete learning to optimize their movement for better performance; or assisting an individual with mobility in a nursing home. PTs encompass all of these roles—and many more.

DIRECT ACCESS As of 2015, patient/clients in all 50 states have direct access to physical therapists, meaning people are able to see PTs as their primary care providers for musculoskeletal issues. Direct access allows patients to seek evaluation and treatment from a licensed physical therapist without a prescription or referral from a physician.

THE PHYSICAL THERAPY PROFESSION (excerpted from the American Physical Therapy Association) Physical therapy is a dynamic profession with an established theoretical and scientific base and widespread clinical applications in the restoration, maintenance, and promotion of optimal physical function. Physical Therapists:

  • Diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance physical and functional abilities.

  • Restore, maintain, and promote not only optimal physical function but optimal wellness and fitness and optimal quality of life as it relates to movement and health.

  • Prevent the onset, symptoms, and progression of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities that may result from diseases, disorders, conditions, or injuries.


At Resonance Physical Therapy, we specialize in Functional Manual Therapy. Functional Manual Therapy is a unique approach and is different than traditional Physical Therapy. In this treatment paradigm, the human body is viewed as an integrated unit, connected through the fascial web. The body is approached as an ecosystem where the parts are interdependent and play a key role in maintaining the balance of the whole. For example, when a patient comes in with complaints of knee pain, we are evaluating the pelvis, hip and ankle and even further up the kinetic chain to discover what biomechanical factors could be contributing to that knee compensation pattern. Functional Manual Therapy training provides an understanding of the optimum state of human movement as well as the skills, tools, and experience to identify and treat mechanical, neuromuscular, and motor control dysfunctions. A combination of these treatments are typically utilized with all of our patients at some point in their plan of care. If you are suffering from chronic pain, if you want to recover without drugs or surgery, if you are an athlete or weekend warrior looking to optimize your movement strategies for better performance, or if you are seeking speedy recovery from any injury and want treatment that looks at the whole you, reach out to us at Resonance Physical Therapy. Do you have questions? I'd love to hear from you.

-Awaken Your Potential-


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