Massage Therapy vs Chiropractic Therapy
Author: McNamara, DC
If you are one that prefers staying away from providers of conventional Western medicine as much as possible and I cannot say that I blame you. Although I have full medical coverage for that “you never know when you might need it” time of my life, I have not seen any of my Blue Cross doctors in well over ten years, and I hope to continue not seeing them for the rest of my life. Please do not miss understand me and think that I am some sort of superhuman creature who never gets ill. I do have my weak moments of pain and sniffles just like everyone else, or at least everyone else who takes good care of him or herself. So, when my body seems to need a boost, I visit one of my two favorite practitioners of alternative medicine; my massage therapist or my chiropractor.
I know that it all sounds very simple and straight forward but it is, in fact, somewhat challenging at times, because I do not always know which one of these wonderful professionals to seek out. So, I often first opt to visit my chiropractor for a good therapeutic session of adjusting and aligning my skeletal structure, and then, as an extra bonus to me and my one and only body, I also make an appointment with my massage therapist for some hefty digging and rubbing. Between the two of them, I come out feeling like a million bucks although my finances are sadly depleted. I figure that we, my body and I, are worth it.
Now, you might ask, and rightfully so, “What is the difference between massage therapy and chiropractic therapy?” Well, I will be happy to tell you:
- For the most part, chiropractic therapy focuses on the hard tissues such as the spine and other joints for adjusting and realignment. Chiropractors have some training in massage techniques but that is never their first and foremost priority.
- Chiropractors are authorized to make medical diagnosis, order x-rays or blood works.
- Chiropractors cannot prescribe conventional medications but they can sell supplements or homeopathic remedies.
- Chiropractors do not need medical referrals to perform their work.
- Massage therapists perform wonderful work on the soft body tissues such as the muscles, tendons and ligaments but they have not been trained nor are they licensed to adjust the spine or any other joints.
- Massage therapists may not legally make medical diagnosis, order x-rays or any blood work.
- Massage therapists are not permitted to dispense medications of Western medicine but they can and do provide or recommend alternative herbal remedies.
- Massage Therapists do not required referrals from anyone to conduct their massage sessions.
A highly acclaimed national non-profit magazine recently conducted a study in which more than 34,000 participants in the United States were asked to rate which alternative treatments worked best for their two biggest health problems for the past two years and the overwhelming majority voted just as I would have; for deep tissue massage therapy and chiropractic therapy in equal measures for such conditions as back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, respiratory problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, insomnia and prostate problems.
Of course, as far as alternative medicine is concerned, one should not discount acupuncture and reflexology for they too are beneficial in their own very special ways.