What is the difference between Manual Therapy and Massage Therapy?

April 15, 2024

Goals and Intention

Sadhana Health offers a variety of allied healthcare services including Physical Therapy, Manual Therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Acupuncture. One of the questions we often get is “What is the difference between Manual Therapy and Massage Therapy?”

The main difference between Manual Therapy and Massage Therapy is the goal and intention of the treatment. Massage Therapy in general is viewed as a personal care service to promote relaxation and overall wellbeing. It is not usually covered by insurance. Manual Therapy is medical in nature and the primary goal is to reduce pain, improve joint mobility, correct biomechanical dysfunction, rehabilitate after injury, and restore optimal movement. Treatment can be relaxing at times, but the overall intention and goals of the treatment are different than those of a traditional massage. Treatment is also usually covered in some portion by medical insurance.

Another difference is the type of individual performing the therapy. Manual Therapy is most often performed by Physical Therapists, but it is also performed by Massage Therapists who have additional continuing education training and experience. Our Manual Therapists with a Massage Therapy background have extensive education and years of experience and training in a variety of modalities including soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, strain counter strain, and muscle energy techniques. Many Massage Therapists will additionally sit for their NCBTMB or MBLEx exam which shows that the therapist has had the highest education and an extensive and comprehensive understanding of the human body. Sitting for one of these exams is required by the California Massage Therapy Council in order for a massage therapist to be voluntarily certified in the State of California.

All Sadhana Health providers are held to highest standards of practice.

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