Massage therapists and physical therapists may seem similar and it can be easy to confuse their roles. However, both have different goals to achieve and different ways of doing this. Below is a detailed look into both a massage and physical therapist to help differentiate the two.

Massage therapists

A massage therapist’s aim is to relieve stress and reduce pain. This is done through different types of techniques involving touching and moving the soft tissue of the body. Massage therapists provide various massage techniques in order to offer comfort and improve your wellbeing. Their skills are often marketed through tourist establishments as well as health centres.

Should you visit a massage therapist?

Visiting a massage therapist is highly recommended if you are looking for stress and pain relief. There are numerous clinics where you can visit a practitioner. Massage therapists can also help lessen any strain after rigorous activity.

When should you not see a massage therapist?

Massage therapists only provide treatment for relaxation and relief. They are not capable of providing medical treatment or consultation for complicated conditions, such as prolonged joint and back pain. Their treatment might only make your condition more severe if the issue is not looked at by a professional. Always consult a physician if you are experiencing any musculoskeletal disorder or pain before visiting a massage therapist.

Physical therapists

The goal of a physical therapist (PT) is to restore or maintain the natural movement of your body. They provide treatment for conditions which can hamper physical function. This includes injuries, disabilities and other medical complications. A PT’s treatment usually includes therapeutic exercise where you undergo a series of assisted physical activities. The aim is to provide enough stimuli to your muscles to regain the functionality.

Physical therapists also use a series of equipment and devices which help assist the process. They also provide deep-tissue massages in order to stimulate the muscles within the body. Certain PT’s even use electrical current for their treatment. They will first assess your medical history and have you go through a series of physical examination in order to determine the best procedure for you.

Should you visit a physical therapist first?

As mentioned, physical therapists deal with musculoskeletal (muscles and bones) conditions. In most cases, you will first need to visit a physician or doctor. They will first assess your condition and refer you to a physical therapist if you need their treatment. This is beneficial as the physician can do a medical examination for you and may be able to reduce the cost of future sessions. Physical therapists are not able to do this since this is outside of their field of expertise.

When should you not visit a physical therapist?

If you are looking for a simple massage for relaxation, physical therapists also provide this. However, it may be more expensive and unnecessary. Consider a massage therapist if you want a luxurious and relieving experience. Rather, choose a physical therapist for more serious issues.

For more advice, talk to a therapist or consult your doctor.