The contemporary biopsychosocial health paradigm emphasizes a reversible and conservative approach to chronic pain management. Manual therapy for temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) claims to fulfil these criteria. An assessment of the utilization and efficacy of manual therapy for this condition is therefore required. A review of the literature pertaining to manual therapy for TMDs was undertaken between September and December 2005. Keywords used in the search were: TMD, manual therapy, massage, manipulation, mobilization, adjustment, chiropractic, osteopathy, physiotherapy, exercise. The four member reviewer panel identified eight (n=8) randomized controlled trials of sufficiently reliable power to be suitable for inclusion in the review, of which only three included manipulative treatment of the temporomandibular joint. The results of manual therapy trials for this condition suggest that manual therapy is a viable and useful approach in the management of TMD. Manual therapy has also been shown to be more cost effective and less prone to side effects than dental treatment. Some manipulative techniques for the TMJ are described.