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An Introduction to the 5 Types of Muscle Energy Stretches

April 22, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — holisticmedicine @ 6:44 pm
Doctor helping patient stretch during muscle energy session

Have you heard of the Muscle Energy Technique (MET)? This form of osteopathic manipulative treatment has helped countless patients since it was first invented in the late 1940s. It might be able to help you as well. But what exactly is MET? Read this introduction to the five types of muscle energy stretches to gain an overview of MET and how it works.

MET: The Basics

MET is a form of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) that osteopathic physicians use to help their patients find relief from various aches and pains. For example, it is often used as a way to relieve chronic or acute back pain. It employs precisely controlled motions and stretches to increase circulation to targeted areas, encourage mobility, and provide other benefits.

Visually, MET can look similar to chiropractic care or physical therapy. In fact, some physical therapists and chiropractors have incorporated it into their practices (although it is still most commonly used among osteopathic physicians).

The 5 Types of MET Stretches

Here is an overview of the five types of stretches that are often used during MET sessions:


During this motion, you passively stretch the targeted muscle and hold your position for a few seconds before contracting the muscle. You hold the contraction for 10 – 15 minutes before relaxing. When the stretch is repeated, you should notice an increased range of motion.


Contract-relax stretches are similar to hold-relax stretches. The only real difference is that instead of contracting your muscle after you are ready in a stretched position, you contract the muscle while you are moving. Contract-relax stretching is sometimes referred to as isotonic stretching.


Hold-relax-contract is also similar to the hold-relax stretch. However, instead of relaxing into the stretch, you actively push into it.

Contract-Relax-Antagonist-Contract (CRAC)

This method focuses on antagonistic pairs of muscles (muscles that work opposite of one another, such as your triceps and biceps or quadriceps and hamstrings). It begins with a passive stretch, followed by controlled muscle contractions and relaxation. CRAC stretching is considered to be one of the safest types of MET stretches.


This technique involves a combination of different types of stretches. It begins with static stretching and ends with dynamic stretching. In other words, you start with stretches that involve little movement, followed by stretches that involve actively swinging or bouncing a specific body part.

Taking Advantage of MET

It can be difficult, or even impossible, to properly implement MET stretches without the guidance of a trained professional. If you try to go it on your own, there is even the risk that you could injure yourself. A qualified care provider is the best person to assess your pain and provide expert assistance during your MET sessions so you can enjoy optimum benefits from your stretch routine.

Meet Dr. Murphy

Dr. Derek Murphy is an osteopathic physician who is proud to offer different types of OMT, including the Muscle Energy technique. If you are looking for a conservative way to cope with your aches and pains, contact Dr. Murphy’s team at 407-319-7541.

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