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The Difference Between Massage & Chiropractic

Both can be used to help relieve pain from dysfunction and misalignment in the body, so a lot of clients have asked me this question over the years.


Skeletal & muscular systems of the spine and shoulder for massage therapy

"What's the difference between massage and what a chiropractor does?"


When it comes to both massage therapy and chiropractic work, there are many different modalities and techniques that can be used, but I'm going to keep the answer to this question simple and to the point.

A standard chiropractic treatment involves directly manipulating the skeletal structure. Massage therapy, by definition, is the manipulation of soft tissues - mainly muscles and fascia.


So, what is the difference in the benefits of these two approaches?


When something happens that causes our skeletal structure to move a bit out of alignment, it can cause pain, discomfort, and dysfunction. How we choose to address these issues can vary person to person, depending on a number of factors. Two possible options are massage therapy or chiropractic adjustments.


You might think that getting the tension worked out of your muscles cannot help with skeletal realignment - but this couldn't be further from the truth. One of the causes of skeletal misalignment is tight muscles. Muscles are attached to the bones via tendons - and when muscles tighten up, they pull on those bones, restricting proper movement and posture, and sometimes causing pain (such as a "crick in the neck").


A chiropractic adjustment can help directly move the skeletal structure and get it back in proper alignment. But, tight muscles can make that process difficult, or the results short-lived.


A lot of people think they must go to a chiropractor to correct skeletal misalignment that has developed over time - this is not necessarily true, depending on the issue. Which is good news to those who don't feel comfortable having someone manipulate their spine.

Massage therapy can help release tension in the muscles and return them back to normal length, which often results in the body realigning its own skeletal structure within 36 hours - providing pain relief as the bones move back into proper position, and regaining full range of motion. The body wants to be in proper alignment, so removing the restrictions it's fighting with will often allow it to correct itself.


In some cases, the skeletal misalignment may be a bit too much, and the body cannot realign itself, even after the muscles are released. Following up a massage with a chiropractic adjustment can be helpful. In the case of combining the treatments, it is recommended to get the massage first, chiropractic adjustment second, for the best results. In these cases, the two therapies can work well together.


From the desk of Neelou Saleh

Spirit of Lotus


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Welcome! I'm Neelou, and my greatest passion is helping others along their journey of deep healing, connecting with their intuition and Higher Self, and seeking a divine connection to Universal Consciousness.

When I'm not writing, creating, or facilitating healing sessions with clients, you'll find me spending time with family, meditating, and connecting with Mother Nature.

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