Massage Therapy vs. Manual Therapy

Massage Therapy vs. Manual Therapy

October 5, 2020

If you’ve been researching physiotherapists, chances are you’ve seen references to both massage therapy and manual therapy in Brampton. They’re two very different forms of therapy that can have a healing effect on your musculature. But what’s the difference, and which should you choose?

The best way to find out whether your injuries are best suited for manual or massage therapy is to visit a physiotherapist. The team at Paramount Physiotherapy & Sports Injuries Clinic provides both—and we’re one of the only clinics in the area to offer advanced manual therapy. So, what does that mean for you?

Massage therapy

You’re probably familiar with massage therapy, even if you haven’t had a professional massage: it’s similar to the back rub you might get from a partner. Massage therapy manipulates the soft tissues of your body, including the muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and tendons. This is performed using different types of pressure and movement to improve circulation, reduce stress, reduce muscle pain and relieve stress and anxiety.

Most notably, improving circulation in an area helps the muscles heal from trauma and injury, and can help them relax back into their normal and healthy positions. However, massage therapy in Brampton is often not enough on its own to heal serious injuries and strain. That’s why manual therapy is helpful when used in conjunction with massage therapy.

Manual therapy

The goal of manual therapy is to assess and treat your injuries, which makes it more targeted than general massage therapy. Physiotherapists will use manual therapy to feel where you’re having issues and, in short, move your muscles back to where they should be, so they can heal properly.

Some of the techniques your physiotherapist may use include soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilizations and manipulations, mobilization with movement, myofascial release, muscle energy techniques and strain/counter-strain.

Compare this to massage therapy, which isn’t used for diagnosis: instead of stimulating and stretching your muscles to improve circulation and overall wellbeing, manual therapy is designed to target your injuries, assess the damage, diagnose and help heal them. That’s not to say massage therapy isn’t useful, but it’s best in conjunction with manual therapy.

Manual therapy also helps improve your joint movement and neuromuscular reflexes. For example, if you’re having trouble moving your shoulder joint, your physiotherapist will diagnose your issue and use manual therapy to help you regain the full range of motion in your shoulder. They’ll also make sure your muscles are appropriately responding to stimuli (like what happens when they tap your knee with a rubber mallet), as inappropriate response can be an indication of damage.

If you suffer from muscle pain, injury or trauma, you should seek the help of a physiotherapist. Multiple modalities like massage therapy, manual therapy and more can help you regain the strength and functionality you’ve lost.

To find out more about massage therapy vs. manual therapy in Brampton, call Paramount Physiotherapy & Sports Injuries Clinic. We can help you get back in fighting shape as soon as possible.

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