Learn the Difference Between Massage Therapy and Physical Therapy

August 20, 2019 11:25 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Physical therapists and massage therapists do have some overlap in the techniques they use, such as encouraging stretching and educating patients about the benefits of exercise. They both also often work with clients who have experienced an injury or medical condition and are seeking to restore their health. However, these two wellness-related professions are very different and serve different functions for patients.

If you’re wondering about the kinds of physical therapy benefits in Napa County, CA you might be able to expect, remember that your physical therapist is here to help you every step of the way. Let’s start with the definitions of both physical therapy and massage therapy.

Physical therapy

Physical therapists are trained in a medical model and typically hold a higher level of education. In the U.S., it’s now the standard for physical therapists to hold doctoral degrees in their field, along with licensure. Their scope of practice is also larger compared to a massage therapist’s. For example, a physical therapist might be working with a patient who has had muscle failure following a stroke, or a patient with extremely limited mobility. They might be involved in assisting a patient with fractured bones or debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

In the long run, the physical therapist’s goal is to improve the patient’s range of movement and reduce their pain. They also treat muscle malfunction and provide long-term support through offering a range of flexibility exercises, strengthening exercises, range of motion exercises and more. These exercises can and should be replicated at home by the patient.

Massage therapy

The thing that links these two specialties is the use of massage, which is used in both. Massage therapy is intended to relax the patient, while also reducing stress and relieving pain through the manipulation of muscles and tissues. Massage therapists often complete certificate programs instead of full degrees.

Each state has differing education requirements for massage therapy, though it’s standard for massage therapy programs to stipulate that at least 500 hours of hands-on experience are required. Also, these therapists will have taken courses in relevant subjects like anatomy and physiology. Most states do require some kind of certification and education for massage therapists to operate, though not all do.

If you want to unlock all the physical therapy benefits in Napa County, CA, then you’ve come to the right place. Focus Forward Wellness & Physical Therapy is here as your premier destination for physical therapy in the region. Our team of talented professionals brings a breadth of knowledge and wealth of experience to every interaction with our patients, and we’ve been serving individuals just like you for over a decade.

We are licensed physical therapist who are trained in the integrative manual therapy (IMT) system that offers a whole-person approach to achieving and maintaining wellness. That means we always treat the whole body instead of just the symptoms. If you’re ready to take control of your health, give us a call and set up your first appointment. We look forward to working with you soon!

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