As more people come to appreciate the healing benefits of massage therapy, massage therapists are being integrated into many aspects of the health care field. Working as part of a team with other health care practitioners can be a great way to build a clientele and to support those clients with your complementary skill sets.
Some of the most common health care practitioners to partner with massage therapists are chiropractors, physical therapists, and acupuncturists. Read on to learn what each of these providers does and how you might partner with them.
A chiropractor is a health care professional focused on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders, with an emphasis on treatment through manual adjustment and/or manipulation of the spine. In short: massage therapists work with the soft tissues of the body (muscles, tendons, ligaments) while chiropractors work with the bones. In can be beneficial for clients to receive a massage either before or soon after a chiropractic adjustment. Many chiropractors employ massage therapists in their own office.
A physical therapist diagnoses and treats individuals with medical problems or other health conditions that limit their mobility and ability to perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTs use a variety of treatment techniques to help reduce pain and restore function to clients’ movement, which frequently includes recommending massage. Physical therapists work in a variety of settings, including private offices, clinics, sports and fitness facilities, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes. They may partner with massage therapists at their own location or develop referral networks with massage therapists in their communities.
An acupuncturist is trained in a form of traditional Chinese medicine that promotes natural healing and improved functioning by inserting needles and applying stimulation at very precise acupuncture points. Several bodywork modalities, especially those that are based in Oriental medicine — such as Shiatsu, Tui Na, and Reflexology — can provide treatment that is very complementary with acupuncture. It is not uncommon for massage therapists and acupuncturists to work in the same clinic and share a clientele.