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Learn the Difference Between Physiotherapy and Massage Therapy

difference between physiotherapy and massage therapy

Have you ever experienced discomfort or pain, and you weren’t quite sure whether you needed physiotherapy or massage therapy? 

If so, you’re not alone.

There are many differences between physiotherapy and massage therapy, but they can both help manage pain. Let’s focus on what each of the services can offer and how they differ in their benefits.

Physiotherapy is a type of therapy that focuses on resolving pain and restoring movement and muscle function by targeting the underlying causes of maladaptive movement. 

On the other hand, massage therapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses certain types of physical maneuvers to promote relaxation and healing, usually through targeted pressure and movement on the skin.

The two are sometimes confused or even used interchangeably, but there are important differences between the two. If you’re confused about whether you should visit a physiotherapist or a massage therapist for your injury or pain, keep reading to find out everything you should know about the differences between these two types of treatment.

What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a type of therapy that uses physical therapy methods and physical devices to correct and modify movement and posture to help you get better.

Typically, people go to physiotherapists after they have tried all other conservative treatments, like rest, ice, compression, and elevation, for their injury or pain.

Physiotherapy aims to correct movement abnormalities that cause pain and to promote mobility. The goal is to get you back to your normal, healthy self as quickly as possible.

Physiotherapy can help with conditions including back pain, neck pain, arthritis, headaches, hip and knee pain, and more.

What is Massage Therapy?

Like physiotherapy, massage therapy is a type of physical therapy that uses physical methods and devices to correct and modify movement to help you get better.

A registered massage therapist may also offer other types of treatments, usually alternative therapies, like aromatherapy, cognitive behavior therapy, or trigger point therapy.

Unlike physiotherapy, which is focused on musculoskeletal conditions and injuries, massage therapy is focused on promoting relaxation, stress reduction, and health.

When is Physiotherapy Useful?

Physiotherapy is often recommended for people with injuries and conditions such as arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or sports injuries. It is also sometimes recommended for people who work on their bodies a lot, like athletes who exercise intensely or people who work in a physically demanding job.

But even if you don’t have one of these specific conditions, physiotherapy can still be useful in certain situations. For example, physiotherapy may be recommended if you experience chronic pain, like when pain that is not caused by an injury flares up after you’ve tried your best to avoid it.

When is Massage Therapy Useful?

Massage is often recommended for people with injuries or conditions that cause chronic pain. In fact, many times the condition is what brought the patient to the physio in the first place.

The reason massage can be so useful in these situations is because it helps to break the pain cycle. Instead of focusing on the source of the pain, the therapist will focus on the areas that are causing the pain via palpation and/or by using massage techniques that release tension and trigger the relaxation response.

The Difference Between Physiotherapy and Massage Therapy

Physiotherapy is a medical specialty that aims to correct movement abnormalities that cause pain and to promote mobility.

Massage therapy, on the other hand, is an alternative therapy that uses certain types of touch to promote relaxation and healing, usually through targeted pressure and movement on the skin.

While both physiotherapy and massage therapy use the hands to manipulate the body, the approaches and techniques used in each are distinct.

Can You Have Both Physiotherapy and Massage Therapy?

Yes, you can have both physiotherapy and massage therapy. Many people, in fact, choose to combine these two services into one visit.

Physiotherapy is focused on assessing and treating conditions and injuries while massage therapy is focused on relaxation and stress reduction.

You can have one person do both types of treatments, or you can have one after the other. It all depends on your needs.

Wrap Up.

Physiotherapy is a type of therapy that uses physical therapy methods and physical devices to correct and modify movement to help you get better.

Massage therapy is an alternative therapy that uses certain types of touch to promote relaxation and healing, usually through targeted pressure and movement on the skin.

The two are sometimes confused or even used interchangeably, but there are important differences between the two. If you’re confused about whether you should visit a physiotherapist or a massage therapist call Full Function Rehab & Wellness today. We can help determine what’s causing your pain, then provide you with the appropriate treatment plan. We also offer personalized prevention plans to help avoid future injuries!

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