We all love a good quality massage, don’t we? After a sports injury or a few too many hours spent hunched over a desk, a relaxing massage with skilled hands feels like the perfect remedy for tired, tense muscles, providing desperately needed pain relief and relaxation. If you’re feeling that tension and soreness right now, you might be wondering if you need to see a local massage therapist or seek out your physiotherapist for the service.
What is the difference? How can your physiotherapist utilise massage as part of their service?
Physiotherapists may provide massage as part of a rehabilitation program. And the great news is that their advanced level of training and knowledge of human anatomy and physiology means that they can target your problem areas with a high level of precision and skill, helping to maximise the benefits of massage in injury recovery and muscle relaxation.
They also know how to combine the therapy with other treatment modalities, such as stretching, exercises and taping in order to provide a holistic and effective plan to tackle your concern.
What’s the difference between a relaxation massage and a physiotherapy massage?
In comparison to a physiotherapist, a massage therapist is generally trained to a certificate IV or diploma level, their focus involves relieving muscular tension that has built up due to stress or injury.
As opposed to physiotherapy which incorporates massage as only one part of an overall treatment plan, relaxation massage is a stand alone treatment that doesn’t necessarily target a specific problem area.
This may be nice for a spa holiday or to kickstart your annual leave to relieve tension. On your next weekend away you can go to the beach, sip a delicious cool drink in the sun and thank your massage therapist for making your trip a relaxing and happy one. But for that sports injury that’s been playing up for a while, or that shoulder that’s been giving you trouble, you might want to consider your local physiotherapist who can work on your injury and include other techniques such as joint mobilisation and muscles stretching.
We may not be able to offer beachfront views but we can search for the root cause of your pain or discomfort, work with you to correct it over time and help prevent the injury from returning so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you are going to enjoy your holidays.
In summary, your physiotherapist is a trusted source for providing massages. This is because a physiotherapist requires a bachelor degree in physiotherapy and may also have areas of special interest such as dry needling, spine manual therapy or headaches, and hold postgraduate qualifications in these areas.
They will be much more targeted in their approach, aiming to directly work on injuries and identify problem areas with precision and anatomical knowledge. On top of that they can help you to identify the root cause of your pain, in order to address it at the source.
Here are some reasons you might see a physiotherapist:
- You have been getting massages from a massage therapist but the pain keeps returning
- You don’t know what’s causing your pain
- You’ve had an injury and would like support in recovery
- You have had surgery
- You have a musculoskeletal disorder
- Your GP has suggested that you see a physiotherapist
- You struggle with correct posture or lifting techniques
- You have recurrent sports or trauma injuries
- You’re experiencing limited mobility
The answer to your pain may not be obvious, as you could be experiencing referred pain from different areas of your body. A physiotherapist is a registered healthcare professional who is able to conduct an assessment and ask you about your history in order to provide a comprehensive and solutions-focused service.
A physiotherapist may also refer you for tests such as an ultrasound or X-ray, and utilise additional tools during the massage such as a TENS machine, which is a machine used to stimulate nerves for pain relief and muscle relaxation. Physiotherapists can also provide specific sports massage in order to enhance athletic performance and help to prevent injuries.
Massage may be utilised as part of an injury recovery plan formulated by your physio, to do things like help to minimise scar tissue, promote lymphatic drainage and circulation, and help to reduce pain.
If you’re considering a physiotherapist for assessment and massage, we are happy to help. Our qualified physiotherapists provide knowledgeable, evidence-based, high-quality care for patients with a range of different needs and can utilise massage to target your concerns.
Book an appointment today.
All information is general in nature