Similarities and Differences between Occupational and Massage Therapy:
In Occupational Therapy, (OT) treatment typically begins after an accident, injury, or diagnosis with the goal of returning a person to his/her highest level of performance. Massage Therapy is utilized in this way under the medical massage coverage of health insurance plans. But massage also helps to develop body awareness of minor issues before they result in an injury. I like to think of massage as “preventive OT” since massage allows me to address issues or injuries and intervene before they result in further problems. Consider it "pre-hab" versus "rehab".
As an OT I have also received extensive training in neuroanatomy and incorporate neuromuscular reeducation techniques in my practice. My OT license allows me to assess and treat a broader range of conditions than my scope of practice as a massage practitioner. In addition to working with clients who are experiencing musculoskeletal pain I have also also treated clients after a CVA (stroke), head injury, and spinal cord injury. The techniques for treating someone with an impaired neurological system are quite different than those with an intact system and I am able to incorporate these assessment and techniques into my practice.
Both my OT and LMP licenses require continuing education. I keep up on the latest research and incorporate what I learn into my practice. Current research into the body and mind connections is advancing at an astonishing rate. Some of the most exciting research is in the are of pain and pain management. Watch the The TED talk video below by Lorimer Moseley to learn more about pain perception and "Why Things Hurt".