Muscle Energy Technique (MET)

Muscle Energy Technique (MET)

Acupuncture is a known therapy for improving quality of life by reducing pain and tension in the body. In additional to Acupuncture alone, your Aus Acu practitioner may also use Chinese Massage (Tui Na), Cupping and also Muscle Energy Technique (MET) in your treatment.

MET involves isotonic or isometric contraction – normal or light resisted contractions of the muscle whilst the joint is held in a particular position. MET practitioners move the joint into a precisely controlled position and ask for a specific contraction of the muscles to which they will apply counterforce 1 in order to increase range of movement in that joint, which in turn may help reduce pain and discomfort.

MET may be necessary for muscles and joints, which are persistently tight, and won’t seem to let go or remain relaxed after regular treatments. Essentially, what an MET practitioner is doing is resetting the muscle spindle. After a the practitioner reaches a ‘barrier’ in a particular range of motion, a small contraction (either 20% contraction force or even less) is held for 10 seconds, followed by a deep breath. This resets the muscle spindles and the resulting increase in motion allows the practitioner to take the joint to a new range of motion before reaching the next barrier.  This process continues 3 or 4 times till the desired range of motion is achieved. In this way, results are immediate and you will leave the treatment with a sustained benefit and increased flexibility.

The skeletal structure adapts to the long term loads exerted on it by the muscles that pull on them 2. On the pelvis, for example, a tight hamstring on one side will restrict the movement of the pelvis, which will affect the way the pelvis sits 3. Many muscles connect and have the potential to play a role in putting the pelvis out and can cause it to be tilted. This can create joint misalignments throughout the spine. The joints then no longer function in the proper planes of motion they were designed to, leading to abnormal stress, wear and tear, joint capsule disruption and eventually pain. If left untreated/uncorrected, it can lead to chronic back pain, disc degeneration or herniation, sacroiliac joint pain, muscle sprain and other conditions causing spinal pain. MET can be effective for back pain 4, 5, 6, 7.

Often there are many different muscles that are tight, causing overall tension and making it difficult for the sufferer to pinpoint the origin of pain and discomfort.  A combination of Acupuncture and MET can help this overall imbalance to be corrected, effectively relaxing and restoring flexibility to the muscular system 8.

Since MET is such a fantastic adjunct therapy to Acupuncture, Cupping and Massage (Tui Na) to release muscles and correct musculoskeletal dysfunction, Aus Acu offers specialised “Musculoskeletal Acupuncture” treatments which include all three of these modalities for maximum results. Please contact us for more information.


  1. Beal, M, 1985, ‘The Principles of Palpatory Diagnosis and Manipulative Technique’, American Academy of Osteopathy, Ohio.
  2. Lang, T, 2011, ‘The Bone-Muscle Relationship in Men and Women’, Journal of Osteoporosis, vol. 2011, p. 1-4.
  3. DeLuca, P, Ounpuu, S, Davis, R & Walsh, J, 1998, ‘Effect of Hamstring and Psoas Lengthening on Pelvic Tilt in Patients with Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy’, Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, vol. 18, no. 6, p. 712-718.
  4. Lafage, V, Schwab, F, Patel, A, Hawkinson, N & Farcy, J, 2009, ‘Pelvic Tilt and Truncal Inclination: Two Key Radiographic Parameters in the Setting of Adults with Spinal Deformity’, Spine, vol. 34, no. 17, p. 599-606.
  5. Lenehan, K, Fryer, G & McLaughlin, P, 2003, ‘The effect of muscle energy technique on gross trunk range of motion’, Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, vol. 6, no. 1, p. 13-18.
  6. Wilson, E, Payton, O, Donegan-Shoaf, L & Dec, K, 2003, ‘Muscle Energy Technique in Patients with Acute Low Back Pain: A Pilot Clinical Trial’, Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, vol. 33, no. 9, p. 502-512.
  7. Selkow, N, Grindstaff, T, Cross, K, Pugh, K, Hertel, J & Saliba, S, 2009, ‘Short-term Effect of Muscle Energy Technique on Pain in Individuals with Non-specific Lumbopelvic Pain: A Pilot Study’, Journal of Manual Manipulation Therapy, vol. 17, no. 1, p. 14-18.
  8. Shadmehr, A, Hadian, M, Naiemi, S & Jalaie, S, 2009, ‘Hamstring flexibility in young women following passive stretch and muscle energy technique’, Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, vol. 22, no. 3, p. 143-148.
Gregory Dunn is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine; registered Acupuncturist with the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA). Greg is one of the directors of Australian Acupuncture Clinics and enjoys treating a variety of concerns, specialising in Dermatology, Digestive Health and Mental Health. Greg also writes and instructs Yoga therapy online, and you can find his classes and eBooks via At home, Greg lives on the Gold Coast with his partner and their two miniature Dachshunds, Porsche and Alexa.
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