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Do You Need Physical Therapy or Massage Therapy? Which is Better For You?

Physical Therapy or Massage Therapy? Which is Better For You?

Requiring healing hands for various injuries of the tendons, ligaments or muscles has become standard prescription practice for physicians.

Even the current scientific studies support the extensive use of either physical therapy or massage therapy as alternative ways to help heal faster, with less pain and create better long term health.

Yet there have been growing similarities between the two disciplines that causes confusion as to when you need which one. In order to help you understand their differences and when to use them this article will help you decide.

PT defined

 Physical therapy or often called physiotherapy is a medical profession aimed at increasing mobility, function and health of patients threatened by age, injury, disease, or environmental factors. Its aim is to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement before it is impaired.

PT often includes massage techniques as a tool as well as techniques that include physical soft tissue manipulation that are less time consuming. This usually requires physical movements of muscles and joints, similar to physical exercises, but meant to specifically work the affected joints, tendons, ligaments or muscle groups as defined during a formal patient history work up and diagnosis. 

PT’s require more education than massage therapists, with a minimum of a bachelor degree in a similar field and a specific master’s program of physical therapy. There are also doctorate programs for PTs. PTs can also specialize in different fields of care like a physician including: geriatric, sports, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics and others.

PT is usually prescribed by an attending family physician, hospital or clinic to treat moderate to severe injuries or mobility and function issues.

MT defined

Massage therapy is actually the parent discipline of physical therapy as massage therapy has been around for millennia, whereas PT in comparison is a relatively new field of medical practice.

Massage therapy is the application of muscle manipulation and soft tissue massage in order to aid healing, reduce pain and increase function of minor to severe injuries to tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Clinical or medical massage therapy deal specifically with similar injuries as PTs and generally is a co-prescribed treatment alongside PT.

The purpose of medical massage is a site specific treatment to deal with a specific issue or injury, unlike relaxation massage. It is used to stretch muscles, aid in removal of scar tissue and increase healing times. Massage therapy used with physical therapy has been proven to speed healing of soft tissue and joint injuries. MTs require education through a formal massage program that is accredited and state licensed, including continuing education which includes specialization in medical or clinical massage.

The generally agreed principle is now to prescribe both PT and MT when dealing with soft tissue, joint, ligament or tendon damage. PT focuses on mobility, movement and function, while MT focuses on pain reduction, scar tissue removal, mobility and as an aid in healing.

This article has been contributed by the team at The Massage Therapy Schools Information, a career coaching portal dedicated to helping aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. For more information on massage therapy, please visit their website.

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Our Physio & Rehab Expertise

Specialist Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and specialist rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.

Areas of specialization

  • physiotherapy: back and neck (spine), sports, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle
  • hand therapy: forearm, wrist, hand and fingers
  • podiatrist: leg, calf, ankle, foot and toes
  • read more on our specializations here

All our therapists are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCM). See our entire team here by location and specialization.

Initially, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to help you recover. They then provide expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term solution.

To call for inquiries or appointments, please contact us at:

SMS/Call/Whatsapp: 96402670


Tell A Friend About Us

We appreciate you as a patient and want you to know that the #1 way we grow as a clinic is through word of mouth referrals from valued patients like yourself.

We do not rely on advertising - instead, we prefer and appreciate the goodwill and positive reinforcement from patients.

When you have the opportunity, please take the time to tell your family, friends and physicians about the positive results and experience you have had in our clinic.

Thank you so much, and stay healthy!

Please Call/SMS/WhatsApp to
xx, thanks!

We are a wholly Singapore Private Limited group of licensed physiotherapists, hand therapists, podiatrists, chiropractors, sports massage therapists, clinical pilates practitioners and TCM physicians practicing in our scope of rehabilitation and its areas of specializations. As listed in our website are the list of services we provide our clients as referred by their medical doctors or by self referrals/word of mouth.

The range of rehabilitation results vary from patients to patients, depending on a variety of factors and reasons such as severity of condition, genetics, gender and age. However, we will still deliver the best evidence-based-practice of physiotherapy, hand therapy, TCM, sports training and deep tissue release therapy that we can deliver.

The information available on this site is for educational purposes only, if you need a full professional advise on physiotherapy, hand therapy and occupational therapy, please schedule an appointment with us by contacting our staff by Call/SMS/WhatsApp at xx, thanks!




You can also text or WhatsApp and we will call you back too =)


Physio, Rehab &  Insurance

Your physio, hand therapy and rehab with us may be covered under your medical insurance or cashless - find out more here.


Acupuncture TCM
Balance Physiotherapy
Biomechanics Physiotherapy
Chest Physiotherapy
Clinical Massage Physiotherapy
Clinical Pilates
Cold Therapy Physio
Complementary Physiotherapy
Cupping TCM
Deep Tissue Massage
Desensitisation Physiotherapy
Electrotherapy Physio
Ergonomics Physiotherapy
Exercise Physiotherapy
Gua Sha TCM
Falls Prevention Physiotherapy
Hand Physiotherapy
Heat Physiotherapy
Home Physiotherapy
Ice Physiotherapy
Interferential Physiotherapy
Manipulation Physiotherapy
Muscle Stimulation Physio
Musician Physiotherapy
Stroke/Neuro Physiotherapy
Orthopedic Physiotherapy
Hand Splinting Physiotherapy
Pain Management TCM
Pain Relief Physiotherapy
Post Amputee Physiotherapy
Post Surgery Physiotherapy
Postural Physiotherapy
Re-Education Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy Singapore
Relaxation Physiotherapy
Sonophoresis Physiotherapy
Splinting Physiotherapy
Sports Physiotherapy Massage
Physiotherapy Stress Relief
Swelling Physiotherapy
TENS Physiotherapy
Tension Headaches Physiotherapy
Thermal Physiotherapy
Traction Back Physiotherapy
Trigger Point Physiotherapy
Ultrasound Physiotherapy
Wax Heat Physiotherapy


Finally I know what I have, my pain decreased and now I'm back to work!

Regional Sales Manager

OMG. The pain levels in my hands have dropped dramatically, about 60-70%


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