Manual therapy includes techniques such as mobilisation and manipulation, designed to improve joint range of motion and decrease stiffness. Manual therapy can be particularly useful following periods of immobilisation, such as prolonged use of a sling following shoulder surgery, or immobilisation in a cast following a fracture.

Although soft tissue massage and manual therapy can provide short-term relief, they are most effective when combined with an individualised and structured exercise program. In many cases, massage and manual therapy should not be used as stand-alone treatments if long-term improvements are desired.