The world of manual therapy can seem to all do the same thing if you've never used a therapist before, but how do you decide which therapy you need to help take care of your body? Let's have a look at the differences between how massage can help you and how an osteopath can help you.
As an overview, the main difference between all therapies is the therapist themselves. Different therapists receive different training. A massage therapist in a beauty clinic will have far less training than a sports massage therapist, who has less training than an osteopath!
The title Massage Therapist in the UK is not one which is protected meaning anyone can call themselves a massage therapist. It then stands to reason that the training for massage varies hugely. As an example, a beautician can take a 2-5 day course as part of their overall qualification and often learn a set routine that is based around relaxation. The techniques are often light, smoothing over the skin and incorporating blends of aromatic oils. Their depth of understanding over what is happening to the body is minimal.
There are so many styles of massage and therapists; from holistic massage therapy, deep tissue massage, no hands massage, remedial massage, sports massage and a whole heap more that not one governing body can regulate them. Whilst there are voluntary registers, there is no specific obligation for a massage therapist to register so some will literally "do their own thing" following training – possibly not the safest!
Often, if you go for a massage, that therapist will only work on the "problem" area, rubbing the sore bit so it feels better temporarily, but the pain then builds up again after, so you go again, month after month which can get expensive!
On the other side of the coin, osteopathy is a regulated profession, and no therapist may call themselves an osteopath without being registered with the General Osteopathic Council. All osteopaths are trained to a minimum of degree level, attending university for 4-5 years. This means that all osteopaths must practice in accordance with a code of conduct, written by the governing body, which sets practice standards, and complete a minimum number of Continuous Professional Development hours to keep training up to date.
Sometimes pain occurs from an area that isn't actually where we feel it is sore. Just smoothing over the surface with a basic massage will make you feel good for a short time, but to help you truly get to grips with your pain you need to address the root cause of the issue. Osteopaths use a wide variety of massage techniques in their treatments including those from a more holistic and remedial massage style right through to specialised techniques such as myofascial release and neuromuscular techniques, so we can tailor our treatments to your specific needs rather than following a set routine. Osteopaths can help a wide range of issues, from recovery of some sports injuries through to working on stress relief and that "feel good" factor!
Osteopaths use their massage skills alongside other techniques to help improve the range of motion joints have and your overall flexibility, along with looking at factors that may be causing or prolonging your pain such as posture, lifestyle and even your thoughts! Yes, your thoughts can have a huge impact on how your body feels.
If you think you need some help with your aches and pains, why not get in touch with us and ask us how our treatments could help you? You can get in touch with us in the following ways:
Phone: 01933 624323