Which Should I Choose: Physiotherapy or Massage Therapy?  

The services of our Ottawa physiotherapists or massage therapists are often both offered to our clients as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Over the last decades, massage therapy has gained in recognition to become a treatment option of choice for many of our clients, alongside physiotherapy.

In some cases, the two options overlap to a certain extent when it comes to the conditions either can help. But, the approach of the two disciplines differs. Here’s a look at both professions and what they can offer their clients.

What do they do?

Massage Therapy

A registered massage therapist or RMT will manipulate and knead the soft tissues of your body, which may be muscles, connective tissue, ligaments, tendons, and even skin. They vary the pressure and type of movement according to the area and the overall goals, be it recovery from injury or ongoing issues.

The benefits of massage therapy have been proven by clinical testing. They include:

  • Reducing stress;
  • Loosening tight muscles;
  • Reducing or even eliminating pain in the affected area;
  • Aids in relaxation;
  • It can boost your immune system.

Massage therapy is offered to clients as part of a treatment package, and can be used for a variety of conditions, including:

  • Injury recovery;
  • Chronic pain;
  • Cancer;
  • Heart disease;
  • Digestive problems;
  • Fibromyalgia;
  • Among others.

Massage therapy may be part of a long-term wellness program, in other words, without targeting a specific illness, injury or condition.


Physiotherapists typically help their clients after an injury, or in the case of an illness or condition that affects their musculoskeletal system. They can help:

  • Restore the function of injured joints and other structures;
  • Maintaining/improving muscle ability;
  • Get back to their normal as soon as possible.

A physiotherapist can review medical imaging such as x-rays in their evaluation of your condition, as well as physically examining the injured or affected areas of muscles, joints and bones. Your Ottawa physiotherapist can act as your primary caregiver, depending on the situation.

They may work with clients after sudden injuries, before and/or after surgery, or to address an issue such as chronic back or neck pain. They may also work with people who live with an illness that affects their mobility, and with aging clients whose mobility and movements are likewise impacted.

  • They can plan a customized exercise plan to target your condition and issues;
  • Muscle massage;
  • They may use a variety of devices that may stimulate muscles and nerves;
  • Joint manipulation and stretching;
  • Evaluation and advice on posture and gait (walking).

If you are considering either physiotherapy or massage therapy, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Ottawa clinics today for a consultation. Our physiotherapists, massage therapists, and other sports medicine specialists are ready to help.



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