How to chose the most adequate therapy?

With so many different therapies available to us, it can be difficult to determine what treatment suits us best. We have to realize that there are as many types of therapies as there are types of people. For example, two students studying physiotherapy or Swedish massage with the same teacher will not work the same way once they begin practicing. Why? The answer is straightforward; therapy is not just a matter of techniques to be learned by heart and repeated mechanically. The therapist’s experience and personality often influence the way they treat.
It is the same thing for all health professionals. A physiotherapist who trains in osteopathy does not work the same way as a massage therapist who trains to be an osteopath. The same as a massage therapist that has a biomechanical approach (kinesitherapy, sports massage, myofascial release, deep tissue) will not treat the same way as a massage therapist that has an energetic approach (shiatsu, polarity, Chinese energy massage, reflexology).
To help you decide, here is a brief description of the various therapies.

Osteopath: Global body equilibrium specialist

Osteopathy is a gentle manual therapy approach that aims to restore mobility to restricted structures (joints, muscles, fascia, organs (viscera), skull …) in order to restore vitality, improve movement and circulation, and allow the body to re-adjust itself and eliminate compensations.

For example, a person who makes a false movement and pinches the D6 vertebrate (the area between the shoulder blades), feels a sharp and intense pain, that often feels like a knife wound. The body reacts by creating muscle spasms or contractions in the soft tissue surrounding the affected area. This reaction is the body’s protective mechanism. Due to the pain, spasms and fatigue, the body compensates by changes in posture, decreased functional capacity and energy.  A displaced vertebrate can irritate the nerve root exiting from the spinal level. In addition to causing pain, nerve irritation can lead to impaired function of the organs it innervates. For example, the stomach’s innervations are from vertebrate D5 to D9, and the vagus cranial level therefore, a blocked or displaced D6 vertebrate can cause digestive problems, such as gastric reflux or bloating.
The osteopath discusses the issue with a global vision of the body and takes into account all the physical and emotional factors that may affect the homeostasis (the body’s ability to stay in functional balance) of the patient.
Osteopathy entails several types of manual techniques, all to release tension: myofascial techniques (equilibrium techniques, stretching and myofascial release …); ‘Muscle energy’ techniques which combines muscle contraction and stretching; Cranial and cranio-sacral techniques to revitalize the body, promote hormonal balance and reduce inflammation and pain. Mobilizations and stretching to help regain range of motion; Musculoskeletal techniques (which are similar to chiropractic manipulations, but milder) to correct a displaced vertebrate or joint; Fluid mobilization techniques to improve circulation and reduce swelling; Emotional release techniques, to rid the body of soft tissue memories due to tissue injury; visceral techniques to release tension to the body’s organs to improve hormonal, digestive, respiratory and gynaecological functionality.
Since the osteopath seeks to liberate the compensation and the constraints imposed on the body by seeking out the cause of the problem rather than focusing solely on symptoms and that such compensations occur in the medium to long term (chronic condition), it takes a few sessions (usually three before feeling positive effects). Subsequently, treatments can spread out between four to six weeks and are offered as needed.
Why see an osteopath?
When we have chronic pain with body compensation affecting various systems (digestive, menstrual, migraines …)

Chiropractor: displaced vertebrae specialist

Why see a chiropractor?

Following an injury which caused a vertebral shift. Thanks to vigorous manipulations (or adjustments) performed on the spinal column, the chiropractor should be able to resolve the problem in one or two sessions. If he suggests more than two weeks of adjustments, it would be beneficial to consider combining the treatment with massage therapy to promote relaxation of spasms that keep the vertebrate injured. A joint consists of two or three bones held together by ligaments (cords). Bones move because of the contraction of the muscles attached to them by their tendons. Releasing the muscles ensures the vertebrate will not shift again.

Physiotherapist: acute inflammation and rehabilitation specialist

Why see a Physiotherapist?Following a soft-tissue injury that created swelling and inflammation, physiotherapy is particularly appropriate within 72 hours following the trauma and during the active phase of rehabilitation. Much of their work is with car-accident patients and work-associated injuries. They also work with patients following a surgery or a prolonged immobilization. Treatment rarely is on an individual basis and includes several modalities: heat, exercise, mobilization, stretching, vigorous massage, electrotherapy (TENS, interferential, laser, ultrasound), and ice. … All this in order to control inflammation and swelling, reduce pain and regain mobility. The physiotherapist focuses on treating the injured area. For example, when consulting for shoulder tendinitis, the physiotherapist’s primary focus will be to take care of the shoulder joint and the structures connected to it. The physiotherapist will not address the pain, tension or compensation arising from this injury. The global approach of combining physiotherapy and massage therapy, physiotherapy and acupuncture, or physiotherapy and osteopathy can be an appealing option providing faster results.

Acupuncturist: the regeneration specialist

Acupuncture is a therapeutic approach coming from Chinese medicine and has been around for millennia. The underlying theory of acupuncture is that the human body possesses a vital energy (Qi) that circulates throughout the body via the meridians. This energy is vital because it permits the body to maintain the physiological functions of different systems (musculoskeletal, nervous, endocrine, brain, digestive, immune, gynecological …) Acupuncture is an powerful global therapy. It lets us work on several issues simultaneously and in a few sessions.

Why see an acupuncturist?
When the human body is in total exhaustion, lack of energy; to reduce pain (both chronic and acute) and inflammation; to release muscle spasms, increase concentration, improve digestion, facilitates deliveries; to promote sleep and energy.

Biomechanical massage therapist: soft tissue release specialist (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and skin – kinesitherapy, sports massage, deep tissue, myofascial release)

The therapist will create space in the body frame to  allow soft tissue to regain its proper role, due to a number of manual techniques (fascia therapy, massage, stretching …). If the body envelope (outer fascia or skin) is too tight or tense, a reduction in nervous and vascular circulation is imminent, thereby decreasing nutrition to the affected region, and decreasing the rate of elimination of metabolic waste. By releasing the fascia and surrounding soft tissue, the therapist will improve circulation and make the body relax and perform better (improved strength, mobility, endurance and recovery …).

Why see a biomechanical massage therapist?
Following an injury that has caused protective muscle spasms, tendonitis, bursitis, shin splints… Someone who has had a history of sprains, poor posture, or an injury due to repetitive movements…

Energetic massage therapist:  energy re-balancing specialist

Chinese medicine states that we have a certain amount of energy available to us and that this energy must be distributed evenly throughout the body. An energy imbalance occurs following trauma or injury, causing the energy to flow difficultly which can cause pain, fatigue, poor recovery. The therapist helps heal the body by re-balancing the energy throughout the body, thus improving organ function, reducing stress, muscle tension and pain.
Why see an energetic massage therapist?
To bring the body back to a balanced state and to harmonize the physical, emotional and psychic states.