Muscle Energy Technique (MET) is a form of a manual therapy which uses a muscle’s own energy in the form of gentle isometric contractions to relax the muscles via autogenic or reciprocal inhibition, and lengthen the muscle.
MET is believed to be particularly helpful in lengthening postural muscles, which are prone to shortening. Theoretically, the active contraction performed by the client against the resistance produced by the therapist is an isometric contraction and may therefore be helpful in strengthening muscles. Also, contraction of one muscle group decreases tone in the opposing muscle group, and MET may therefore be beneficial in helping to overcome cramping. There is some debate about the degree of force a client should use when contracting a muscle before it is stretched, although low levels of contraction are advocated, certainly no more than 25 percent of the client's maximum force capacity. This is especially important should the technique be used in early stages of rehabilitation after injury, when levels as low as 5 percent may be the most appropriate. MET is sometimes used with a pulsing motion (known as pulsed MET), which advocates claim helps reduces localized oedema.
MET is therefore used in the following circumstances:
- To stretch muscles, especially those considered to be postural rather than phasic
- To strengthen muscles
- To relax muscles, especially useful for treating cramping muscles
- To help regain correct muscle function
- To reduce localized oedema