By Ghadeer Ghloum
KUWAIT: Physiotherapy and massage are two common therapeutic practices that provide relief from various musculoskeletal conditions. Physiotherapy aims to restore joint and muscle function, while massage therapy targets muscle tension and promotes relaxation. To further understand the role of physiotherapy and massage on musculoskeletal health, Kuwait Times interviewed Mohammad Hussain and Manar Ibrahim, two specialists in physiotherapy. Hussain told Kuwait Times that massaging is only a part of physiotherapy, whereas physiotherapy is not a part of massaging.
However, physiotherapy and massage therapy go hand in hand for rehabilitation and injury recovery. After sustaining an injury or undergoing surgery, it is essential to regain strength, flexibility and mobility. Physiotherapists aid in devising personalized treatment plans that include exercises, manual therapy and stabilization techniques to help individuals recover and regain function. Massage therapy, on the other hand, aids in reducing scar tissue and improving circulation, accelerating recovery by promoting the body’s natural healing process. Ibrahim explained the connection between physiotherapy and massaging.
She said regular physiotherapy sessions can help identify potential musculoskeletal issues before they exacerbate, enabling the implementation of preventive measures. Similarly, massage therapy can assist individuals in maintaining proper muscle tone and preventing symptom recurrence. However, while both approaches aim to alleviate pain and improve bodily function, they differ significantly in terms of techniques, goals and scope. She also clarified that physiotherapy employs a collection of evidence-based techniques, including exercise therapy and manual therapy such as joint mobilizations or manipulations.
These techniques are designed to address specific injuries, improve range of motion, reduce pain and restore normal movement patterns, which cannot be treated through traditional massaging. Massaging is for softening tissues through rubbing and pressing. According to Ibrahim, there are different massage techniques, such as Swedish, deep tissue or sports massage, which are employed to relieve tension, reduce stress, promote relaxation and enhance blood circulation. On the other hand, Hussain warned that despite the benefits of massaging as part of physiotherapy, people must be cautious in case of inflammation, especially joint inflammation, because massaging inflamed joints could make the situation even worse.
According to Hussain and Ibrahim, physiotherapy encompasses a wider scope of practice, often involving the treatment of acute and chronic conditions, sports injuries, musculoskeletal pain and neurological disorders, as physiotherapists work closely with patients, conducting thorough assessments and designing personalized treatment plans to address specific problems and goals, using evidence-based techniques and focusing on restoring one’s musculoskeletal health, strength and functionality and improving quality of life. Meanwhile, massaging takes part in facilitating the process of physiotherapy sessions for some conditions, because its application is primarily focused on providing relaxation and temporary relief from muscle tension and stress.