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is there a difference between physical therapist and massage therapist?

What is actually massage?

Massage is a manual technique that uses certain movements of the therapist's hands to manipulate soft tissues.

Manipulation of soft tissues is most often performed by the therapist using the thumbs, hands, palms and elbows and for this reason massage is called manual technique.

The selection of movements with which the therapist manipulates the soft tissues depends on the goal of the massage itself, but all movements are based on lifting, moving, friction and pressure.

In order for the movements and strokes in massage to be effective, they must be systematic, that is, they must have their own direction, intensity and the way in which they are performed.

What is actually massage?
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How does massage work?

Physical manipulation acts to reduce tension and improve soft tissue liquid circulation in areas of the human body, which means that pressure and movement performed by the therapist increase blood flow in the treated area.

Improved circulation leads to an increase in the level of oxygen and nutrients and promotes the elimination of waste products, which helps in tissue regeneration.

The tissue in which the circulation has increased becomes heated and thus relaxes and gains its fluidity, which consequently increases the range of motion.

Massage stimulates the release of the hormone endorphin, a natural painkiller in the human body and thus works to reduce pain and discomfort.

In addition to endorphins, massage stimulates the secretion of hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and in that way works positively on human mood.

Does science support massage?

Although massage therapy has been practiced for centuries, modern scientific research has provided valuable insights in potential health benefits.

Research shows that massage:

  • can reduce pain in various conditions such as chronic back pain, osteoarthritis, and tumor-related pain
  • significantly reduces the level of stress and anxiety in patients undergoing various medical procedures
  • improves muscle recovery and improves athletic performance
  • improves sleep patterns and reduces sleep disorders in people with insomnia

The results of these studies help the therapist in choosing the type of massage to use, i.e. for what purpose the massage itself will be used.

Massage science
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A physical therapist is a masseuse?

The first and fundamental difference between a physical therapist and a masseuse is education program.

Physiotherapists have a more extensive and formal educational program compared to massage therapists.

Further, physiotherapists use a wider range of techniques and therapeutic modalities, including exercises, manual therapy (which can include massage), electrotherapy, hydrotherapy and patient education.

Also , physiotherapists work s patients that suffer from serious medical conditions and rehabilitation after surgery and certain injuries, while massage therapists work more to relax, reduce stress, and relieve pain in healthy people or those with mild problems.

A physiotherapist is not a masseur!

Massage can be therapeutic for treatment of various conditions, but its scope and methods are specific and limited compared to physical and manual therapy.

No, physiotherapist it's not the same as a masseuse.

Although physiotherapists may use massage as one of their techniques, their scope of work, education and goals are much broader and include various therapeutic approaches for rehabilitation and treatment of various medical conditions.

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Learn 5 types of massage!

In Clinical and Rehabilitation massage education at the Physioverse Academy, you will learn how to fast and accurate rehabilitate a large number sports injuries and musculoskeletal disorders with the help of knowledge of as many as 5 types of massage techniques

Types of techniques that we will teach you:

  1. Relaxation massage
  2. Medical massage
  3. Sports massage
  4. Cross-Friction massage
  5. Trigger point therapy

Education is currently held in 4 countries and 5 cities, and seats are filling very fast! 

Apply for education in Clinical and Rehabilitation massages today and start successfully applying 5 massage techniques already on the second day after education!

Picture of BSc. PT Damjan Ljubić

BSc. PT Damjan Ljubić

Damjan is a senior physiotherapist, the owner of a private sports physical therapy practice, and the main lecturer of education in Clinical and Rehabilitation massage.

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