Manual therapy is a branch of physiotherapy and also focuses on the musculoskeletal system. The manual therapist treats the patient after referral from a veterinarian, for example as part of a rehabilitation program after surgery or recovery after injury. The basic principle of manual therapy is to detect and treat abnormal (increased or decreased) motility and function of joints and the spine by manipulative and / or mobilizing techniques.
Manual therapy is aimed at the entire musculoskeletal system and accepts asymmetry and individual preference for function. Through manipulation the function (mobility) is restored. An asymmetric (abnormal) position is not changed, but accepted as individual variance.
Manual therapy is based on mobility and functionality, while AVOM is based on anatomy, and abnormal positions of the vertebrae or joints that cause limitations in movement or function. Manual therapy, as a branch of physiotherapy, is sometimes performed by veterinarians, but mainly by (animal) physiotherapists. In the Netherlands, physiotherapists and veterinarians can take a course (18 days) in manual therapy for dogs and cats.