Chiropractor vs Massage: The Differences and Benefits

Both chiropractors and massage therapists use natural means to restore overall wellness and health. However there is a difference between the two and understanding the difference is important if you want to get the right treatment for you. In a nutshell, a massage therapist targets muscular conditions whereas a chiropractor focuses on conditions related to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. In this chiropractor vs massage post we will expand on this difference.

Chiropractor vs massage

A massage therapist uses manipulation of the soft tissues and muscles to promote the release of tension and to cause relaxation. There are various styles of massage, but they all have common attributes. They include Swedish massage, shiatsu massage, deep therapy massage, and trigger point therapy massage.

By manipulating the top layers of muscle and tissue, blood circulation increases. This in turn causes more oxygen and other nutrients to be pumped around the muscles which releases tension, decreases stress and has a soothing, relaxing effect. Typical muscular conditions requiring a massage are muscles spasms, areas of tightness and tension, knots, and general aching. Some of the benefits of massage therapy include:

  • Boost in immunity
  • Increased blood circulation
  • Improved skin condition
  • Reduced stress

While a massage therapist treats and prevents muscular conditions, a chiropractor focuses on the hard tissues such as bones and joints. Some people find that that their bones and joints come out of alignment. This can cause issues such as headaches, tension, neck pain, and back pain.

A chiropractor will use manual force to manipulate and adjust the body. By realigning the positioning up the bones and joints, pain is alleviated, function improved and the body is better able to heal itself (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)

So while a message therapist uses stroking, rubbing, tapping and other muscular manipulations, a chiropractor focuses on using force to correct the positioning of the mechanical parts of the body. This may not cause relaxation in the way a massage does, however it alleviates the pain and tension the patient has been feeling.

The Final Word

The key difference in chiropractor vs massage is that a massage uses muscular manipulations to treat muscular conditions whereas chiropractic therapy uses manual force to adjust and manipulate the bones and joints in the body to alleviate tension and pain. 

Tyler Meredith - February 23, 2016

It’s interesting that massages are generally used to reduce muscle stress, while chiropractors are generally focused on the bones and joints. While I do see the benefits of both, I often feel relaxed after a chiropractic session, as I think the relaxed bones put less stress on the muscles. I’ll have to remember to the difference for my son though, as he often pulls muscles and gets hurt in his hockey practices.

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