The Difference Between Myotherapy And Physiotherapy

The field of manual therapy has come a long way in the past century; it now offers many completely non-invasive, drug-free treatment options for musculoskeletal issues.  Myotherapy (a specialised form of massage therapy) and physiotherapy (physical therapy), are the two main modalities within the field of manual therapy. Myotherapy and physiotherapy are similar in many ways but quite different in others. If you want to know which treatment option is right for you, you need to first understand the differences between Myotherapy and Physiotherapy.



What is the Difference between Myotherapy and Physiotherapy?

The best way to explain the differences between Myotherapy and Physiotherapy is to closely examine their philosophy, treatment approach and methodology.




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The formal industry body definition of Myotherapy is as follows:

Myotherapy is a branch of manual therapy that involves evidence-based assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of ‘myofascial’ pain, injury, and dysfunction.”


Western medical principles including biomechanics, anatomy, and physiology are the foundations of myotherapy. Myotherapists believe that many physical pain issues originate from soft tissues / muscles. The orthodox medical community didn’t fully embrace the idea of “muscular pain” until recent neurophysiologic research show that pain from a muscular origin is quite common.

Treatment Approach:

Myotherapy is focused on the management and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal pain including muscles, joints, and nerves. Myotherapy can also assist and aid in prevention, early intervention, and rehabilitation of a wide range of musculoskeletal pain and injuries. In plain and simple terms, Myotherapy helps people in pain get out of pain. 

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Before starting any treatment, Myotherapists usually take a comprehensive case history and conduct a detailed physical examination in order to find out the root cause of the problem and to create a treatment plan to minimise the chances of the pain returning. Most of these treatment plans are active in nature and therefore require some sort of involvement from the patient. 

Conditions Commonly Treated:

Some common neuromusculoskeletal conditions that can be corrected through Myotherapy are:

  • Common headaches/Migraines
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Chronic Overuse Syndrome 
  • DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
  • Rotator Cuff Strain
  • Tennis Elbow/Golfer’s Elbow
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Shin splints
  • Plantar Fasciitis

Techniques Primarily Used:

Myotherapists focus on remedial massage or myofascial release as their main tools; however, they also possess extensive knowledge and skills to apply a wide variety of other techniques including:

  • Trigger point therapy
  • Dry needling
  • Muscle energy techniques
  • Myofascial cupping/Myofascial release techniques
  • Central and peripheral joint mobilisation
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Stretching exercises and programs to aid recovery





The formal industry body definition of Physiotherapy is as follows:

Physiotherapy is a branch of manual therapy that involves proper assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of a wide range of musculoskeletal problems arising from injury, disease, illness, and ageing.


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The philosophy of physiotherapy is based upon the principles of medical science. Physiotherapy is generally considered to be within the sphere of conventional medicine rather than alternative medicine. The origin of physiotherapy dates back to the 19th century when the nurses at that time started to use massage as a form of treatment. Over the years, physiotherapy has evolved considerably and now it is considered an important branch of the rehabilitative healthcare system and various massage clinics that uses a combination of specialised exercises and equipment to help patients regain or improve their physical abilities. 

Treatment Approach:

Physiotherapy is focused on enhancing the life of a patient through improved health and fitness. This is achieved by encouraging the person to take charge of his/her health by learning and implementing different techniques for recovery, pain relief, injury prevention, and improved physical movement. Physiotherapists work with a wide range of patients, from infants born with musculoskeletal birth defects, to elderly who suffer from various age-related musculoskeletal disorders, to adults suffering from issues after trauma or injury. They also work with sports people and offer rehabilitative treatment as well as injury prevention advice. 

Like Myotherapists, Physiotherapists also begin their treatment after a thorough assessment of the patient’s condition. This usually includes a review of the patient’s medical history followed by a complete physical examination. If needed, a physiotherapist may advise some diagnostic tests to better evaluate the patient’s conditions and develop an effective treatment plan. 

Conditions Commonly Treated:

Some common musculoskeletal conditions that can be corrected through physiotherapy are:

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  • Running Injuries (such as runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, ITB pain)
  • Sports Injuries (such as Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome)
  • Whiplash and Neck pain
  • Arthritis and Joint pain
  • Back pain
  • Tension headaches
  • Disk herniation and sciatica
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Pre and postnatal musculoskeletal conditions
  • Postoperative surgery recovery

Techniques Primarily Used:

Physiotherapists use a number of techniques to alleviate pain and improve strength and movement. Some of the common techniques used are:

  • Trigger Point dry needling
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Spinal mobilisation
  • Joint mobilisation
  • TENS
  • Stretching and Strengthening exercises
  • Tapping

As you may have noticed there are probably more similarities than differences between myotherapy and physiotherapy. We believe both modalities are fantastic for treating musculoskeletal issues, so feel free to visit a myotherapist or a physiotherapist to address your underlying musculoskeletal dysfunction.

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