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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2023, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (3): 245-253.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2023.03.006

• Original Chinical Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Muscle energy technique for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A feasibility study

Danielle A. Baxtera, Meaghan E. Coylea, Catherine J Hillb,c, Christopher Worsnopc, Johannah L. Shergisa   

  1. a. School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia
    b. Department of Physiotherapy, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria 3084, Australia
    c. Institute for Breathing and Sleep, Heidelberg, Victoria 3084, Australia
  • Received:2021-12-20 Accepted:2022-10-28 Online:2023-05-15 Published:2023-04-14
  • Contact: Meaghan E. Coyle


This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of implementing a manual therapy technique (muscle energy technique, MET) protocol in a hospital pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) program for patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Participants aged 40 years and over, with moderate to severe COPD, were recruited into this 12-week study. The primary outcome measures were feasibility (acceptability of the intervention and attendance/adherence to the trial) and safety (adverse events, AEs). All participants received the MET and PR therapies. Participants and assessors were unblinded. Semi-standardized MET was delivered on 6 occasions (a maximum of once per week) at the hospital directly before a PR session. Participants undertook PR sessions as per the hospital program at a frequency of two days per week for 8 weeks. Participants were contacted 4 weeks after their final MET treatment via a telephone call to assess acceptability of the intervention.


Thirty-three participants were enrolled, with a median age of 74 years (range 45–89 years). The median number of MET sessions that participants attended was 5 (range 0–6) out of a possible 6 sessions (83% attendance). At follow-up, participants overwhelmingly enjoyed the MET treatment with some subjectively reporting improved breathing. There were no major AEs related to the intervention, with the majority of AEs classified as expected events related to COPD exacerbations.


It is feasible to implement a manual therapy protocol using MET as an adjunct to PR in a hospital setting. Recruitment rates were satisfactory and there were no AEs related to the MET component of the intervention.

Key words: Manual therapy, Pulmonary rehabilitation, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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