Massage therapy has an extensive history among cultures around the world, with its first references appearing in writings from ancient civilizations like China, India and Egypt. In Greece, Hippocrates once even defined medicine as “the art of rubbing.” And considering your skin is the largest organ on your body, it’s no wonder why it’s so beneficial.
It wasn’t until the mid-19th century when two American physicians introduced massage to the United States after studying it in Sweden. Although scientific and technological medical advances during the 1930s and 1940s took center stage, massage became popular again in the 1970s and continues to be of use today for a number of health-related purposes, including the treatment of pain, stress and depression.
Massage Therapist vs. Physical Therapist: The Differences
Although massage and physical therapists use the same techniques, each is categorized as its own separate profession. In fact, besides the use of massage and educating their patients about exercise, the two occupations hardly have anything in common. That said, here are the key differences between a massage and a physical therapist.
- Complete a certification program that includes 500 hours of study and first-hand experience.
- Require a certificate and a license to work in most states.
- Work on the body’s muscles and soft tissues to help relieve pain and stress.
- Work in a variety of settings, including spas, franchised clinics and physicians’ offices.
- Complete a doctorate in physical therapy, and they must be licensed in all states.
- Authorized to diagnose patients’ dysfunctional movements, develop treatment plans and assess their progress.
- Work to rehabilitate, treat or prevent chronic conditions, illnesses and injuries.
- Work in private offices as well as hospitals, clinics and nursing homes.
Note: Massage therapists can also be physical therapists, depending on their education.
Most Common Massages That Massage Therapists Perform
Massage therapists treat their patients by using their touch to manipulate the body’s muscles and other soft tissues. As a result, they relieve pain, reduce stress, help heal injuries and increase relaxation, improving the general health and wellness of their clients. Some of the most common massage therapies they perform include:
- Deep tissue
- Hot stone
The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Your Overall Health
Whether you’re hoping to treat a mental or a physical issue, massage therapy can help. Here are its biggest benefits.
- Relieve tension and stress
- Reduce anxiety and ease symptoms of depression
- Manage pain throughout all parts of the body
- Enhance physical performance and improve cardiovascular health
- Promote relaxation and better sleep cycles
- Improve balance and quality of life
- Lower blood pressure and risk of heart attack
- Decrease or eliminate symptoms stemming from an ailment
If you want to experience these benefits, keep calm and book a massage today. Your mind, body and soul will thank you later!