Muscle Energy Techniques

Isometric Contractions, Trigger Points, and Muscle Energy Techniques

Leon Chaitow recently posted a great article on his website discussing the use of isometric contractions in pain management.  In this post he discusses many topics including trigger points and muscle energy techniques.  This is a must read article to truly get the most out of your trigger point work and muscle energy techniques.

I was going to include this article in last week’s stuff you should read article, but I really thought this was worth it’s own post.

Here are some tidbits of info that I really liked:

  • Long, low level isometric contractions are best at reducing pain – Leon tells you a few possible mechanisms as to why this works
  • All techniques, included isometric contractions and other methods of trigger point release, should be followed up with gentle stretching to lengthen the muscle
  • This has many implications for trigger point releases and muscle energy techniques
  • Combining everything Leon discuss, muscle energy techniques are simple and potentially very effective treatments to perform.  This makes muscle energy a no-brainer to include in your tool belt – potentially large bank for your buck with minimal investment

Read the full article on Isometric Contractions in Pain Management from Leon’s site, but more importantly, take a deeper look at Leon’s book on Muscle Energy Techniques.  This is one of the books that are including in my Essential Reading List and one that I recommend to everyone wishing to improve their manual therapy skills.  Check it out:

Muscle Energy Techniques


  • Mike, I just read Dr. Chaitow’s article. It definitely deepened my understanding of how MET/isometric contractions work at a physiological standpoint. After observing other clinicians utilizing these techniques, I did question the effectiveness of different hold durations – the article was enlightening on this. Although I usually have not had the patient hold to failure, I will try this to see how it works.
    Thanks for sharing the article!

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