These days I see so much negativity on social media regarding physiotherapist’s use of manual therapy. Manual therapy includes many different treatment techniques, the most well known being massage. Some physiotherapists feel the need to dissuade new physio graduates against using their manual therapy skills and instead encourage them to solely use techniques such as exercise rehabilitation with their patients. For me, I find that some manual therapy techniques can be of massive benefit when treating patients.
Commonly cited benefits of massage include:
- Reduce muscle tension
- Improve circulation
- Increase joint mobility / flexibility
- Improve recovery post exercise
- Stimulates the lymphatic system
- Assist in pain management
Yes, I agree that massage cannot cure pathologies, such as arthritis, and I do not think it should always be used in isolation of other treatment modalities. However, I think that physiotherapist’s should be proud of the skills we have been taught and we should use them to our patient’s advantage.
As a physiotherapist, who works with professional athletes, we will often use different forms of manual therapy, for the reasons listed above. Sometimes, if it helps the athlete feel subjectively better and stronger, they are then ready to go out and perform with greater confidence and subsequently improved ability #gains 💪.
If you would like to see how a good sports massage can help you, please get in touch.