Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Physical Therapy (M.S.)

Degree Program

Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Jane Toot

Second Advisor

Emily Droste-Bielak

Third Advisor

Dalene Rooks DeGraaf


The purpose of this research was to determine the prevalence of use of alternative treatments by physical therapists in Michigan, what approaches are used most often and if use of alternative techniques is associated with practice characteristics. A questionnaire listing 20 treatment techniques which met the operational definition of alternative was mailed to a random sample of 300 licensed physical therapists in Michigan. Number of modalities used, frequency of use for each alternative treatment, average caseload treated, and relationships between modality use and characteristic of practitioners were determined. Results showed 83% of respondents use one or more alternative modalities; 39% use five or more. The most commonly used techniques were myofascial release, strain/counterstrain, biofeedback, acupressure and visualization. Alternative treatment techniques were used by a significantly higher percentage of therapists treating orthopedic clients and therapists who had three to five years of experience.


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