This is a question we get asked a lot! I have consulted google about this but as usual found many different answers, which just seemed to confuse the matter. Before going on I would like to warn you that I am about to use some gross generalisations and I am talking about these professions in Melbourne, Australia, as myotherapy and physiotherapy can be drastically different in other locations.
In my experience as a client I have seen many myotherapists and physiotherapists in Melbourne that work almost exactly the same, however I do think there are some overall, general points of difference.
I think the most important thing to understand is that Myotherapy (in terms of education in Melbourne) is an advanced diploma of remedial massage. I believe this leads myotherapists to be more hands on than physiotherapy, as the majority of their education has been based in massage and manual therapies. Myotherapists also study ultrasound, tens machine & dry needling like in physiotherapy but in general tend to use these as additions to remedial massage and not standalone treatments.
Physiotherapy on the other hand tends to spend more time on the assessment of the client, and exercises/stretches they can do at home or at the gym to rectify the problem (many physiotherapists use pilates aswell). One explanation I found on Yahoo Answers suggested with myotherapy “The patient/client does NO active work during the session” while a physiotherapy session “requires ACTIVE PARTICIPATION from the patient/client”. I think this is a reasonable generalisation as a physiotherapist will often do the exercises and stretches with you during the session while a myotherapist will often advise you of stretches/exercises to do at home and be more likely to spend most of the session using massage and other treatment techniques.
In terms of the tools and treatment techniques physiotherapists and myotherapists use there is very little difference. It seems to be more the way each individual therapist implements their training that makes the difference. I believe the most important thing is to find a therapist that you are comfortable with on a personal level and figure out the treatment and exercise regime together that works for you.
We spend a lot of time focusing on titles in our industry, but ultimately most therapists are treating the same issues, pain, discomfort and decreased range of motion. Personally I have tried many different modalities over the years and I have chosen the ones that work for me, however just as each therapist works differently each client will respond to different types of treatment. We work in a very safe and non-invasive industry so there is no harm in trying multiple modalities to see which ones work for you.
If you would like a chat about the services we offer feel free to give us a call. 03 9645 9923