Physical therapists specialize in many areas, and some focus on a specific body part, such as the heart or bones. Massage is an excellent supplement to physical therapy because it helps reduce stress and muscle tension, improve circulation, and increase nutrients to tissues. Moreover, massage can improve posture, help with stiff muscles, and improve range of motion. Physical therapists may also be able to prescribe massage for individuals with arthritis.
Physical therapists are trained to analyze and treat the human body and can recognize distorted postural habits. Massage therapy, on the other hand, targets specific muscle groups. Physical therapists can also perform techniques such as trigger point therapy, which focuses on releasing muscle constriction. Trigger point therapy involves applying pressure to a specific muscle group and waiting until it relaxes. It may be beneficial in resolving chronic muscle pain, increasing mobility, and preventing further injury.
The goal of massage therapy is to help a patient recover from an injury. Massage is effective in reducing swelling and pain, and improving range of motion. While physical therapy may help with restoring function, massage can alleviate pain, support safety, and ease muscle stiffness. Similarly, massage can help you recoup from a rigorous workout session, reduce the symptoms of depression, and promote overall wellness. While physical therapy can help relieve muscle pain, massage is more effective for promoting healing after an injury.
In addition to massage being effective in pain relief, research has found it to be more effective than physical therapy. One study examined the effectiveness of massage on chronic neck pain and found that it was superior to non-active therapies. Similarly, another review examined the effectiveness of massage on knee pain in osteoarthritis patients. The results of that study were inconclusive, but some massage therapists specialize in specific types of therapy, including sports massage or orthopedic treatment.