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September 2022

Phys Ther. 1992 Dec; 72(12): 843-52.

Manual therapy: a critical assessment of role in the profession of physical therapy.

Farrell JP, Jensen GM.

Kaiser-Hayward Physical Therapy Residency Program in Advanced Orthopedic Manual Therapy, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Hayward, CA 94541.

Interest in manual therapy appears to continue to grow among physical therapy clinicians and educators throughout the world even though the underlying concepts and techniques have not been justified by a knowledge base. The purposes of this article are to critically assess the role of manual therapy within the physical therapy profession and to provide an introduction to the other articles in this special issue. Eisner's model of explicit, implicit, and null curricula is used as a framework for our analysis and our discussion of manual therapy. The explicit area of manual therapy includes discussions of the definition and the role of manual therapy, the scientific rationale for manual therapy, and manual therapy in education and a comparison of manual therapy evaluative frameworks. The implicit area deals with the role of clinical decision making and critical thinking in manual therapy in education and rehabilitation. In the null (unaddressed) area of manual therapy, we suggest directions for future development and research.

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