Use of muscle energy technique amongst a nationally representative sample of Australian osteopaths

Gary Fryer, Michael Fleischmann, Brett Vaughan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Muscle energy technique (MET) is a therapeutic technique involving active muscle contraction by the patient. The selection of particular techniques by osteopaths is underexplored. The aim of the study was to explore the practice profile of those Australian osteopaths who use MET often in their practice compared to those who do not use the technique often. Methods: A secondary analysis of data collected from 922 participants by a practice-based research network (PBRN) for the Australian osteopathy profession was performed. Frequency of use of MET on a 4 point scale: never, rarely, sometimes, and often were binary coded as less often and often. Inferential statistics were used to explore the associations between individual practice characteristics and the frequency of MET use. Adjusted odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) and p-values were calculated from regression modelling. Results: Dichotomising participant responses resulted in less often (203, 20.5%) and often (788, 79.4%). There was a significantly greater proportion of male practitioners using MET compared to those practitioners who did not often use the technique (OR = 0.46; CI = 0.33, 0.63; p < 0.01). Australian osteopaths who often used MET were younger (36.3 vs 44.6 years old) and had fewer years in practice (9.9 vs 17.3 years) compared to osteopaths who used the technique less often. Conclusion: Osteopaths who reported that they often used MET were more likely to be male, often use counterstrain and more likely to use orthopaedic testing in patient examination. The study provides an insight into how Australian osteopaths practice, particularly their use of MET. Implications for practice: • When the responses of 922 Australian osteopaths who participated in a practice-based research network were dichotomized according to usage of MET, the majority reported they use MET frequently. • MET and counterstrain appear to be used in combination for musculoskeletal patient care by Australian osteopaths. • Australian osteopaths who reported often using MET were more likely to see patients for low back pain, perform orthopaedic testing, use neurological cranial nerve testing, and refer for diagnostic imaging. • The practice characteristics of osteopaths who use MET often compared to those who do not reveal insight into different practice styles within the osteopathic profession.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-33
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Osteopathic Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Muscle energy technique
  • Osteopathic Manipulation
  • Survey


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