Massage Therapy is a Valuable Tool of Physiotherapists
A physiotherapist is a specialised healthcare professional who is trained in the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of a variety of conditions that can affect the body’s musculoskeletal system, resulting in pain, weakness, or loss of mobility. However, while many of the treatments they employ may involve the use of special equipment, such as ultrasound machines, lasers, and devices designed to stimulate the nerves electrically, there are also occasions on which the use of purely manual techniques, such as massage therapy may prove to be more appropriate. Such treatments should not, however, be confused with those performed by a masseur or masseuse at a health spa.
When administered by a physiotherapist, the purpose of this type of treatment is to relieve pain and/or to restore functionality to soft tissues damaged by an illness or injury. Applied to tendons, ligaments, and muscle tissue, among the many effects of this form of manual manipulation is that it stimulates the blood flow in the treated areas whilst also helping to break down any scar tissue or adhesions that might have formed as the result of a sports injury, for example.
The fear of pain often leads to tension, which, in turn, tends to heighten the pain. The use of massage therapy, which serves to lower heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration, offers a very effective and completely non-invasive means to promote relaxation and relieve tension. Therefore, it provides the therapist with a means to break this cycle of fear, tension, and pain.
Apart from injuries resulting from sports, workplace, and motor vehicle accidents, manual manipulation can be valuable in the treatment of quite a wide range of common aches and pains. For example, it is often adopted for the treatment of headaches, torn or strained muscles, the relief of lower back and neck pain, or as a means to relieve the discomfort arising from poor posture. In addition, massage therapy can also be beneficial as a means of reducing the pain and discomfort often experienced during pregnancy.
Whether administered by means of special apparatus or by some form of hands-on manipulation, all treatments provided by a registered physiotherapist are evidence-based, and are underpinned by an in-depth knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, and neuroscience. Unlike the services offered at a local spa, these are not treatments selected by the client from a menu. By contrast, these are proven therapeutic options selected by an experienced healthcare professional as indicated by a diagnostic assessment.
While some physiotherapists may be employed by sports clubs and professional rugby or soccer teams, others provide treatments, such as electrotherapy, hydrotherapy, traction, acupuncture, and of course, massage therapy in hospitals, rehabilitation centres, or private practices.