Menu Close

5 Key Differences Between Muscle Therapy and Massage Therapy

It is easy to get confused by the many types of therapies available since they all treat different needs and provide distinct health benefits. Both may have the same goal but use different techniques to relieve pain and restore function. Several types of massage use different healing approaches and focus on different parts of the body. A massage therapist is well-trained to address the needs of their clients or patients. They may apply strong or gentle pressure to the joints and muscles to ease pain and tension. In this article, we will be looking at five key differences between muscle therapy and massage therapy.

  1. Purpose

Massage therapy is used to manipulate soft tissues in the body including joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. It helps reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and stabilizes the client’s mood. In contrast, muscle therapy is used on people who experience pain or lack of motion resulting from a strain or a critical event such as an accident. It helps an individual manage an existing condition and increase the range of motion. Muscle therapy could also be used to provide daily exercises and education in injury prevention. It may help minimize inflammation and increase circulation of blood to the soft tissues.

  1. Techniques Used

During massage therapy, a therapist uses deep circular movements, long strokes, kneading, and passive joint movements. All these techniques are meant to help you relax as they increase the blood flow and stimulate nerve endings. This type of massage is usually done to the whole body but a client may choose to have partial massage therapy. A massage therapist will begin on your back before flipping over at halfway point. You can always ask your therapist to use firm, medium or light pressure depending on your preferences.

On the contrary, muscle therapy targets the inner layers of your connective tissues, muscles, and tendons. It is primarily centered on the manipulation and stretching of muscles. Unlike massage therapy, it uses more pressure to relieve pain. The techniques used in muscle therapy facilitates healing by releasing areas in your tissue or muscles that contracted.

  1. Responsibility

Physical therapists and massage therapists both care about helping their clients relieve pain and regain their functionality. However, physical therapists bear much responsibility as they help improve movement and manage pain. They go through a longer period of education to learn everything essential on how to help different patients. Massage therapists may begin practicing much sooner but take a shorter time to complete their professional courses. This means that a physical therapist has much responsibility as they go beyond the normal massage techniques to restore mobility and improve body function.

  1. Doctor’s Prescription

Physical therapists who perform muscle therapy must be licensed and need to have graduated from an accredited physical therapy school before sitting for the Physical Therapist Examination. Their primary goal is to restore function since they are taught how to fix a particular problem related to muscle movements in the body. Because of this reason, they may require a doctor’s prescription to identify the primary problem and work towards recovery. Licensing laws for massage therapists may vary by state or country. However, the common requirements include graduating from a massage therapy school. Some start practicing earlier because they take a shorter time to complete their courses. Unlike muscle therapy, massage therapists do not need a doctor’s prescription because they focus primarily on relieving stress and some forms of depression.

  1. Cost of Therapy

The average cost for massage therapy is estimated at $60 per hour but the price may vary significantly depending on the region. Muscle therapy sessions use more trigger point techniques including some neuromuscular therapy. Because of this reason, they tend to be priced higher than massage therapy. On average, muscle therapy is estimated at $100 per hour and may vary by state or region. Urban areas are generally pricier because of the higher costs of operations. You can always call a few therapists who offer similar services to compare their prices and other details you might require.

Although both muscle therapy and massage therapy work towards relieving pain, stress and other forms of depression, they use different techniques to achieve their primary goal. Understanding the different types of massage helps address your primary problem and reduces the confusion that arises when choosing between different types of massage. Both massage and muscle therapists focus on their scope of work based on their clients’ needs. It is always important to talk to your therapist so that they can apply little or more pressure to suit your preferences.