There are significant differences between massage treatments and physiotherapy. While both are treatments built to maintain and improve body conditioning and functioning, the two therapies differ in philosophy and method.
Massage therapy is considered a part of alternative medicine, with focus on the manipulation of soft body tissues by manual methods, helping the body in its natural processes of pain reduction, improved fitness and health plus reduction of stress and trauma. The philosophy relies on a holistic model where all the physical, emotional, and psychological parts of the whole person are supported to work together in balance and harmony. Swedish massage is the most typical form of massaging therapy.
Physiotherapy, on the other hand, employs equipment to aid the rehabilitation of a particular physical injury to the body and track its progress. The philosophy is that a single part of the body must be improved and strengthened for it to work correctly. This is a dualistic view (one part vs many other body parts) and differs substantially from massage therapy’s holistic view where all the parts work together. That said , massage treatment is not a substitute for regular medical treatment.
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Physiotherapists design fitness and wellness-oriented programs for maintaining and restoring movement and function which may have been compromised due to age, injury or illness. The physical therapist develops a plan to promote movement, reduce discomfort, revive function and reduce disability. The specialist also works to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs.
Physiotherapists work in hospitals and clinics and often talk with other health professionals such as physicians, dentists, nurses, social workers, and occupational specialists.
It is stronly recommended to first review massage therapy and physiotherapy with your doctor when experiencing unexplained discomfort, injuries, fractures, or situations involving metastatic inflammation, severe osteoporosis and pregnancy.
Both kinds of therapy have their validity depending on the situation they are intended to treat. When used together, a person’s possibilities of making a full recovery from an injury is increased substantially.