Therapeutic Exercise Therapy Versus Massage Therapy – Which Is More Beneficial?

Jun20th 2022

Discover Which Treatment Method is Best for You!

Therapeutic exercise therapy and massage therapy are both incredibly beneficial methods of treatment. But which one is best for you?

While both methods can aid in pain relief and decreased inflammation, they do have some distinct differences. 

Both can be used to combat chronic pain symptoms but they are used in very different ways. For more information on our therapeutic exercise therapy and massage therapy services (and how they can benefit you!) don’t hesitate to contact us today.

The differences between therapeutic exercise therapy and massage therapy

Therapeutic Exercise Therapy

As stated by Physiopedia, “therapeutic exercise involves movement prescribed to correct impairments, restore muscular and skeletal function and/or maintain a state of well-being. The scientific evidence demonstrating the beneficial effects of exercise is indisputable, and the benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks in most adults. For most adults, an exercise program including aerobic, resistance, flexibility, and neuromotor exercise training is indispensable to improve and maintain physical fitness and health.”

Therapeutic exercise therapy is commonly prescribed to patients that have experienced extended periods of inactivity, or those that are living with a recent injury or painful condition.

This type of treatment encompasses gentle exercises to help loosen the muscles and rebuild lost strength. This aids in both strength training and pain relief, and ultimately helps the patient get moving comfortably once again.

Common types of therapeutic exercise therapy include:

  • Exercises to target the problem area(s): Your physical therapist will likely initiate a therapeutic exercise therapy program that targets the problem area(s) in question, in order to reduce numbness, pain, or weakness.
  • McKenzie exercises: Progressive movement exercises such as McKenzie exercises may be included in your physical therapy program to treat a wide range of causes of chronic pain.
  • Stabilization exercises: Stabilization exercises to retrain deep muscles may also be included. Your physical therapist will also show you how to use the right spinal and abdominal muscles before starting any exercise to stabilize the spine.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has many positive effects on the body such as relaxation, stress relief, improved circulation, improved mobility, decreased body aches, improved posture, and much more.

While therapeutic exercise therapy is commonly used in patients with extended periods of inactivity, massage therapy is commonly used in patients whose muscles may have experienced extended periods of overuse. It helps in loosening up any tight areas and making recovery quicker and easier – so you can get back on track to accomplishing your physical goals.

Therapeutic massage can be extremely beneficial for those experiencing aches and pains. As stated by Harvard Health, “Therapeutic massage may relieve pain by way of several mechanisms, including relaxing painful muscles, tendons, and joints; relieving stress and anxiety; and possibly helping to “close the pain gate” by stimulating competing nerve fibers and impeding pain messages to and from the brain.”

Some of the most common types of massage include:

  • Swedish massage. This type of massage relaxes any stiff or tense muscles you may have, allowing for increased blood flow and fluid to drain from swollen areas. 
  • Deep tissue massage. This type of massage loosens up your muscles and their connective tissues.
  • Myofascial release. This type of massage creates room for tissues that may be trapped by distortions or fascial adhesions, freeing them from constriction.

Additionally, as stated by the National Institutes of Health, “The term “massage therapy” includes many techniques. The most common form of massage therapy in Western countries is called Swedish or classical massage; it is the core of most massage training programs. Other styles include sports massage, clinical massage to accomplish specific goals such as releasing muscle spasms, and massage traditions derived from Eastern cultures, such as Shiatsu and Tuina.”

Therapeutic massage promotes tissue healing, so you can get back to living your pain-free life as quickly as possible. By working to mobilize, loosen, and relax these muscles, you can help your muscles stay limber. This will decrease your risk of strains, sprains, and ruptures.

Ready to get started on the best treatment plan for you?

We hope this blog has helped you figure out a little more about which treatment method may be best for your specific needs. To learn more about how these services may benefit you, please schedule a consultation with one of our licensed and highly trained physical therapists today.

We are dedicated to helping you discover the best types of treatment for you, so you can get back to living life comfortably – whatever that may mean to you!

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