These include any treatment where hand movements are used. These include joint mobilisations (used to increase the range of motion of a joint,) joint compressions (used to improve joint health,) massage including deep tissue massage and cross frictional massage and stretches or passive movements of the joints.
Joint mobilisations, compressions and passive movements all aim to improve the movement of a joint and reduce the pain felt by the animal through regaining normal movement.
Massage therapies are used to improve the movement of soft tissue around a joint to improve its movement or to free any muscles/tendons/ligaments that could be restricting that joint. Massage relieves pain through releasing tissues, removing trigger points (or knots) found within the muscles, promoting circulation and general relaxation.
Stretching muscles after massage will improve range of movement than by stretching alone as the muscles/ fascia will already be warmed up and this will give greater extensibility.
Manual therapies are very useful treatments that physiotherapists can use but they will not improve the function/movement of an animal in isolation they work best in conjunction with other treatments such as exercises or hydrotherapy. Once we have restored normal movement to the joints the muscles need to be shown how to continue that movement and build up their strength to maintain it.