In every profession there’s a bell curve; some people are outstanding; most are somewhere in the mediocre middle; and then there are the others.
Most professions have a ‘brand’. Unfortunately for me, the Physiotherapy brand in private practice is one of laying down on a table with an expectation of being fixed, or even worse still, being massaged. A dental hygienist provides a clean and polish; a Massage Therapist provides Massage.
*And* Physiotherapy is a profession not a verb; you don’t go to the Dr to get some Dr. You see a Physio for clinical advice and treatment; you don’t ‘get some Physio’ unless you’re my wife.
‘Manual therapy’, which *could* include massage techniques of some form, are adjunct treatments to the foundation of our profession – exercise and education. Manual therapy cannot *fix* or correct anything. It’s biologically impossible for someone to change what’s happening inside someone else’s body with their hands – it’s an absurd concept; indirectly the nervous system my reduce tone in response to non-threatening contact but stuff can’t be structurally altered with touch, even with cracking joints – it’s just noise.
Manual therapy and massage have their place and it’s exactly what some people need. I work with some excellent manual therapists who have trained specifically to provide manual therapy; I used to be a manual therapist myself but now much prefer to leave that to someone else so I can focus on what I’m better at and more interested in – the mechanical stimulus for change: exercise. We call it our integrated care plan; manual therapy with the manual therapist + education and exercise with the Physiotherapist because they complement each other.
The second unfortunate branding is that of massage; it’s more than just relaxation, and masseuse is a dirty word.
Matthew Danziger is an ‘outstanding’ Massage Therapist in America providing best-practice treatment based on contemporary evidence to rival any Physiotherapist I know. Judge for yourself:
“It’s not what’s on the outside, it’s what we do that defines us”