MANUAL THERAPY VS MASSAGE
The benefits of physical therapy go beyond treatments after an injury or after surgery. But why not before injury or to prevent the exacerbation of an old injury?
What can a physical therapist do for you? As body movement experts physical therapist (PT) have a specialized observational skill to identify poor movement patterns. This means a PT can not only treat an injury after it happens, we can also treat an injury before it happens.
Here at Alta PT we believe in a hands-on approach to patient care. This approach is called manual therapy. Manual therapy can include massage but massage does not all of manual therapy. Dr. Michelle Millner of Professional PT and Training in NJ, did a blog post on this a while back and I think he explains the difference perfectly:
"Massage is defined as the rubbing and kneading of muscles and joints by the hands especially to relieve tension. Soft tissue mobilization is a specific assessment, evaluation and treatment of soft tissues (ligaments, muscles, tendons, and fascia) for the purpose of creating beneficial effects on the nervous, musculoskeletal, lymph, and circulatory systems. Massage is an overarching technique that may be applied by massage therapists or physical therapists. Soft tissue mobilization is applied very specifically for the treatment of musculoskeletal, lymphatic, or neurological effects. The intention and implementation technique is very different. Massage is the general concept, but soft tissue mobilization is the specific how and what. Just like cardiovascular exercise is the overall concept but high intensity interval training is the specific training technique.
Being able to implement soft tissue mobilization techniques requires a significant amount of training in human anatomy and physiology and understand how manipulating the tissues will impact physical function. Physical therapists specialize in evaluation, assessment and treatment of movement function disorders. Soft tissue mobilization is just one of the strategies that we use to help our patients meet their functional goals."
Manual therapy is an absolute benefit for any individual at any age or fitness level. PTs can provide specific manual therapy techniques to assist each person's needs. This creates not only a more fine tuned tailored treatment, but also a greater appreciation of the health of a patient's muscle and joint tissues.
For more information on our hands-on manual therapy and our 30-60min session or if you have an injury and would like manual therapy as well as a full Physical Therapy session call 212-956-2900 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.