While there are many similarities between massage therapy and physical therapy, they are not the same thing. One is meant to help reduce inflammation and increase mobility while increasing relaxation and circulation, and the other is meant to help restore function when it has been lost due to illness or injury. If you are in line to start massage therapy, then you will notice that different parts of your body are going to be manipulated to enhance how you feel overall. Here are a few stark differences between both types of therapy.
Massage Therapy Helps More Areas At Once
For those going into physical therapy after an illness or injury, they will get help restoring the function to the body part that was restricted. They will also get help restoring the muscles that support the area that was hurt or ill. Massage therapy, on the other hand, will help the body as a whole function at a higher level. Through the manipulation of the tendons, muscles, ligaments, and even some of the bones of the body, circulation as a whole is improved, which can improve every area of the body.
With the increased circulation of massage therapy, comes more oxygen in the blood stream, lower blood pressure, an increase in the body’s immune system, less damage from injury or exercise, and increased levels of relaxation. All of these things help the entire body, not just the area that was damaged in some way. This is all on top of the pain relieving effects that come with massage. During physical therapy, the point of each motion is not to boost the body’s response, but simply to allow the functionality of the damaged part to return.
Massage therapy is not the perfect solution for all problems, however. If you have succumbed to some type of an injury that restricts the movement of a joint or area of your body, then you should turn to physical therapy. Then, you are able to follow a plan that slowly works the joint in the right motions to restore strength, little by little. As each level of strength is achieved, as is laid out in the plan, new exercises are added until full strength and mobility are restored. While massage therapy can be added to physical therapy, it would not help the joint restore movement in a situation like this.