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Massage Therapy or Physiotherapy - which one is right for you?

From an interview with Mike Gaspar and Jamie Bussin

In Episode #202 of THE TONIC Talk Show/Podcast.

Jamie spoke with health and wellness expert and CEO & Co-Founder of HealthCasa, Mike Gaspar about the modalities of massage therapy and physiotherapy. This is an excerpt of that discussion. For the full interview, listen to the podcast HERE.

What is massage therapy?

Massage therapy is primarily the hands-on manipulation of muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. Massage therapy helps by acting on the muscular, nervous and circulatory systems.

What is the difference between a masseuse and Registered Massage Therapist? A Registered Massage Therapist has completed a 2-year program at an accredited massage therapy school and is then regulated by a professional college; whereas a masseuse didn’t, but knows how to give a massage. Pro tip: Don’t call your RMT a masseuse … They hate that!

What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapists study the science of movement. They learn how to pinpoint an injury’s root causes, looking at how a specific ligament, tendon or muscle is overly tight, for example and thus causing your pain. They deal with acute injuries or wear and tear injuries. Humans aren’t static or symmetrical. We’re not balanced, perfect beings. Most people are asymmetrical in a number of ways. From one foot being bigger than the other, or a leg being longer than the other. You’d be surprised how a few millimeters difference really changes the biomechanics of your body. Physiotherapists don’t only deal with the sports injuries of weekend warriors, they can help people deal with age-related ability to do the “activities of daily living” – doing things like going for a jog, or a bike ride with your spouse.

What is the difference between massage therapy and physiotherapy?

The therapies aren’t mutually exclusive. You can go to both. Massage therapy is often used for immediate relaxation of pain due to tight, sore muscles, muscle spasms, etc., whereas physiotherapy is more focused on addressing the root cause of the pain; whether it’s muscle pain or joint function. They’re often complementary services where the physiotherapist would help you stretch, strengthen and recover from an injury or nagging pain and the massage would help relax tense muscles possibly contributing to the underlying cause of your pain. You would go to the physiotherapist to determine the root cause of the problem and fix it. And you might go to a massage therapist to help deal with the pain.

Working from home has caused a lot of issues with back and neck pain; would a physiotherapist or massage therapist be better suited to help with that? Physiotherapists can perform an Ergonomic assessment which helps you ensure your workstation is set up properly to alleviate unnecessary stress on your body and avoid injury.

How do I know if I need a massage therapist or physiotherapist? That’s where you want to rely on the experts to provide you the right information to help guide your decision. That’s why our business is set up with a patient-first and educational approach where you can pick up the phone, speak to a real person and ask all your questions.

Mike Gaspar is a health expert and the co-founder of HealthCasa. For more information visit


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