A massage is a service that we can enjoy without having to have a particular medical condition or even a recommendation from a specialist. It is but one of the things that we can enjoy and avail to be able to relax completely while relieving our entire body of muscle pains.
A chiropractic session, on the other hand, is something that is not as easy to avail as massage therapy. It is often prescribed as an alternative to pain medication or surgery for musculoskeletal problems and it requires a professional to perform a session; unfortunately, the number of chiropractors in the Philippines at this moment is still very small.
In the next few paragraphs, we will be talking about the main differences between massage therapy and chiropractic manipulation, their similarities, and which one would be the best choice for your condition.
What is Chiropractic Manipulation?
The word chiropractic comes from two Greek words: cheir, which means hands and praxis, which means practice. As the name implies, it is a treatment or practice being manipulated by our hands. Chiropractic is a complementary medical practice, which mainly focuses on spine care and in general, heals problems with our musculoskeletal system. Our musculoskeletal system is made up of muscles, tendons, bones, joints, and cartilage, which support our entire body, giving it the ability to move while protecting our organs at the same time.
As suggested above, only a qualified chiropractic doctor or chiropractor may perform a chiropractic manipulation. For every session of chiropractic manipulation, a chiropractor applies pressure to the patient’s spine or other necessary parts of the body. The pressure being applied then allows the chiropractor to adjust and correct our musculoskeletal system. Its main purpose is to reduce the amount of pain we feel and improve our body’s mechanical function.
The Definition of Massage Therapy
Massage therapy can be defined as the application of certain types of controlled pressure by holding and moving our muscles and tissues all over our body as well as other hands-on techniques in order to manipulate our soft tissues. Usually, a massage session is performed to improve the flow of our blood and lymph to reduce the muscular tension or flaccidity in our body and to relieve us from pain. A therapist or Masseuse that has undergone various training and certifications performs a massage.
How Chiropractic and Massage Started: A Brief History
It’s important to know the account of how and when massage therapy and chiropractic started so we can understand their usage and purposes better. Let’s start with the history of massage therapy. It is believed that its first practice can be dated back to hundreds of years ago when ancient cultures used it for its medical benefits. There are even ancient written documents of massage therapy that were found in China (in the Chinese text The Yellow Emperor’s Classic Book of Internal Medicine at around 2700 BCE) and in Egypt (at around 2500 BCE in an Egyptian tomb painting). Other civilizations in India, Sweden, and Japan also showed early usage of such treatment.
Chiropractic’s history, on the other hand, can also be traced way back to ancient cultures through depictions and writings. Surprisingly, at around 400 B.C., Hippocrates, the father of Greek medicine, was already using manual treatments to treat different spinal conditions. There is also proof that the first chiropractic sessions have been used in different parts of the world such as in Europe where spinal manipulation, which was then commonly affiliated with bone-setters, started in the 16th century and Buddhist temples which can be traced back to about 2000 years ago contained depictions of spine manipulations too.
Basically, it seems that our ancestors, due to its healing and medical benefits were already utilizing both of these practices. Over the years, there were many studies and developments made to make sure we maximize all the benefits we can get out of these two methods.
What are the Differences between Chiropractic Care and Massage Therapy?
Even though both of these treatments are being used to promote our body’s ability to heal without having to undergo medication and/or surgery, each still has its own specializations. Let us take their main usage and goals as an example. The fundamental principle of massage therapy is to be able to improve blood circulation, our flexibility, overall relaxation, stimulate the nervous system, and enhance the healing of tissues in our body. Masseuse or therapists have the option to use different techniques based on the customer’s needs and preferences such as long strokes, deep tissue massage, pressure point massage, and many more to grant relief to sore muscles and satisfy the customer. On the contrary, chiropractic care’s primary intention is to take care of the health of our neuroskeleton. Chiropractors usually use spinal manipulation to move our bones into its proper alignment. Through a certain technique, they are actually able to adjust our bones and joints into their right arrangements.
Another big difference that they have is the scope and focus of their healing capabilities. Chiropractic treatments, unlike massage, which has the main goal to provide relaxation, focus more on traumatic injuries and bone and spinal problems. When patients experience repetitive stress on their backs due to a fall that caused injuries to the spine, chiropractic manipulation is often suggested as it can reduce the restriction of joints, reduce pain, and increase our body’s mobility. On the other hand, a masseuse focuses more on helping customers that deal with physical and mental or emotional stress and to give overall relaxation.
Chiropractic care and massage therapy may be combined depending on your body’s condition. Actually, they are such a great combination that can improve your body’s overall wellness. However, if you would need to choose only one between the two, check which one is most suitable for your needs. If you are having trouble with muscle pain, stress, and need to unwind, you can bet that massage therapy is what you need. In the event that you have conditions such as slipped disc in the back, a pinched sciatic nerve, or if a medical professional identified the cause of your pains as something skeletal, chiropractic care may be your best choice out of the two.