What’s the difference? You’re about to find out. Both use their hands, and both may recommend the other, but they’re both very dissimilar. Namely, while massage therapy is a very important form of healing, but it does not have the same broad scope of practice that chiropractic does.
Chiropractors are actually primary healthcare providers and can help treat a lot of conditions. Their main goal is to release subluxations in the spine to make sure the body and the nervous system are operating at peak level. Massage therapists on the other hand are experienced in treating only muscular conditions – relieving muscle pain, stiffness and tension. There are various other differences between chiropractors and massage therapists too – understanding these differences can help any individual determine whether they need to visit a chiropractor or a massage therapist to meet their needs.
Education and Training
One of the biggest differences between massage therapy and chiropractic care is the amount of education that either party have to complete. Chiropractors are doctors who not only need a four-year undergraduate education but also a four-year doctorate of chiropractic program. During their programs, these persons not only receive extensive training, but also complete an internship, a residency program, pass several rounds of boards and certification tests and take classes in physics, biology, anatomy and physiology and chemistry. The struggle is real.
Massage therapists on the other hand typically complete only 500 or so hours of training, although it does vary by state.
Scope of Practice
Chiropractors are responsible for treating the entire range of the spine and the whole musculoskeletal system. They typically treat patients with spinal manipulations but can also use massage, physical therapy and ultrasound therapy. Chiropractors may also refer patients to other medical professionals.
Massage therapists focus more on the muscles, performing one or several types of massage types such as a Swedish massage or deep tissue massage.
Choosing the Right Professional
If you have sore muscles or are simply looking to unwind, then you may just want to visit a massage therapist. But, if you have any other pain, discomfort, or a possible health condition, then you should definitely visit a chiropractor.