Dr. Mettler

Paul Mettler, PT, DPT

Half-length portrait of Paul Mettler, PT, DPT, Founder and CEO of Mettler Institute
Paul Mettler, PT, DPT

Paul Mettler began practicing physical therapy in 1981. Like most physical therapists, Dr. Mettler often saw patients who continued to struggle with pain and impairment long after concluding physical therapy and other medical treatments. There are many forms of physical therapy, most of which focus on the point of injury by treating the affected tissues. In general, physical therapy attempts to relax, stretch or strengthen the constricted muscles and tendons, and to increase the mobility and stability of the joint(s). This is an extremely important aspect of physical therapy. However, patients often still experience some limitation in the remission of pain and return of full functionality. Dr. Mettler saw more potential from the field of physical therapy and posed the question: What else could physical therapy do to change the lives of these patients?

Mettler observed the inflammatory process that accompanies injury was far more disruptive than previously thought. Furthermore, Mettler realized the effects of inflammation on the musculoskeletal system could be even more debilitating than the original injury itself. This frequently accounted for ongoing, pervasive and growing impact of injury and functional limitations. For example, a patient might remember being injured in one part of her body and then begin to experience pain and impairment in other related parts. This is because of the seamless web of connective tissue called fascia, which permeates the human body. Injury or inflammation to the fascia in one place, with time, can spread to other places within the fascial system.

3 Ways Adhesions Affect Health

Scar tissue impacts healthy musculoskeletal function through three basic processes.

  • Adhesions reduce circulation, which dramatically impairs the tissue’s ability to repair itself.
  • Adhesions may prevent nerves from gliding within the neural channel.
  • Adhesions interfere with proper muscle and tendon function which may result in reduced strength and increased stiffness.

All three processes can also promote pain.

Dr. Mettler has discovered a way to rapidly identify and undo the damage caused by the inflammatory process. Mettler originated a manual physical therapy method, termed the Mettler Release Technique (MRT®), to restructure (or release) the scar tissue that connects injured tissue without causing further injury. This innovative technique has been successfully used on over 5,000 patients over the past 15 years. Average outcome scores for patients discharged from physical therapy at the Mettler Center in Champaign, IL range from 70–90%,[1] several orders of magnitude higher than published outcome studies of standard physical therapy.[2]

While MRT can produce remarkable results, it is only one form of physical therapy used by Dr. Mettler and his associates. In fact, the combination of this technique with traditional therapy methods (e.g., conventional medical treatments, manual physical therapy, exercise and massage) dramatically improves the rate and magnitude of recovery, and constitutes the complete approach used in the Mettler Method®.


  1. ^ An unpublished study based on a sample of 50% of new Mettler patients treated in 2007–2008 using the SF-36 self-report outcomes scoring system resulted in an average of 70–90% improvement.
  2. ^ Bronfort G, Bouter LM. Responsiveness of general health status in chronic low back pain: a comparison of the COOP charts and the SF-36. Pain. 1999;83;201-209.