Trigger Point Therapy vs. Massage: What’s the Difference?

Are you wondering about the differences between trigger point therapy and massage? Learn what they are here and which one you should get.

Are you confused about the differences between therapeutic massage and point therapy? 

There may be times when a regular massage is not enough to bring you the relief you are looking for. This is when you consider adding a point therapist or trigger point therapy to your relaxation massage experience.

Follow along to learn the differences between a regular massage and trigger point therapy.

What is a Trigger Point Therapy?

Trigger Point Therapy is a type of soft tissue therapy used to treat musculoskeletal pain. The therapy involves applying pressure to any “trigger points” found in the body, which are tight bands of muscle that have contracted and can cause localized pain.

Practitioners use their hands, your body weight, a massage tool, and/or pressure to release these tight spots, typically along nerve pathways. Trigger Point Therapy increases circulation in the area of the body being treated and can reduce pain, tension, and stiffness.

The goal of the therapy is to reduce the pain and tension and restore mobility to the area treated. This therapy may be used as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with other treatments such as exercise, massage, physical therapy, or waterside chiropractic care.

Trigger Point Therapy can help to reduce pain and stiffness, improve mobility, and decrease inflammation.

What is a Massage

A massage is a therapeutic hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues and muscles of the body to improve physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In massage, therapists apply manual pressure, vibrations, and stretching techniques to the body’s soft tissues with the aim of alleviating tension, stress, and pain while improving circulation, range of motion, and flexibility.

Massage promotes relaxation, reduces tension, anxiety, and stress, and can also be used to relieve chronic pain caused by various medical conditions.

Massages induce relaxation and increased energy, enhance the sense of well-being, reduce depression and anxiety, and promote healing. Types of massage include deep tissue massage, sports massage, hot stone massage, and Swedish massage.

Differences in Cost 

Trigger point therapy (TPT) and massage therapy provide many of the same benefits. However, there are some significant differences when it comes to cost.

Massage therapy is more widely available and typically costs less than trigger point therapy. The cost of massage therapy usually depends on the amount of time spent by a therapist and the type of massage that is being given.

On the other hand, trigger point therapy is typically more expensive since it is a specialized form of treatment that can be administered in fewer sessions.

Trigger point treatments also require a more detailed physical assessment prior to the session and usually have a higher cost per hour. Keep in mind that each type of therapy has its own benefits and cost should not be the main deciding factor when it comes to choosing a treatment.

Differences in Approach Techniques

Trigger point therapy and massage are two separate yet often confused approaches to the relief of chronic pain. While a massage can be an excellent way to relax the body and reduce stress, it is not as focused on providing specific and targeted relief of muscular tension as trigger point therapy.

Trigger point therapy seeks to relieve localized stiffness, tightness, and discomfort, while massage’s goal is usually more general, focusing on relaxation and improving blood circulation.

Trigger point therapy consists of applying pressure to ‘trigger points’ -sensitive localized regions that, upon stimulation, reduce muscular tension.

A massage, on the other hand, usually works by applying slow, wide-range strokes and rubbing the muscle to heat it up. As a result, trigger point therapy is more focused on providing targeted relief of muscular tension, while a massage is more focused on providing a more general relaxation and improving blood circulation.

Differences in Recovery Time

Trigger point therapy and massage may be used interchangeably to relieve stress and alleviate pain within the body, but the differences between the two treatments can have a marked effect on recovery time.

Trigger point therapy utilizes forceful and sustained pressure directly to the affected area, while massage is more fluid and generalized across the area and the entire body. This means that trigger point therapy typically provides a faster relief of pain, as the pressure helps to break down the muscle’s tightness, albeit temporarily.

Whereas massage can also reduce pain by relaxing and loosening the muscle tissue, this process is more prolonged due to the greater area of effect and the length of the massage.

Therefore, for acute and localized pain and for quicker relief, trigger point therapy is the best option, while for more generalized pain, massage may provide a more holistic approach and longer-lasting results.

Differences in Impact 

Trigger Point Therapy and Massage both offer therapeutic benefits, but the differences in impact are quite notable. Trigger Point Therapy is a specific type of bodywork used to release tight areas in the muscles, which allows the body to relax and move more freely.

The therapist will apply firm and focused pressure to specific areas, known as trigger points. The massage therapist, on the other hand, is trained to address a wide variety of conditions and may use a variety of techniques depending on the individual needs of the client.

During a massage, the therapist will use a combination of motions to relieve tension, reduce stress, and help relax the muscles. The benefits of Trigger Point Therapy and Massage differ, depending on the particular issue.

Trigger Point Therapy may help relieve immediate pain and tension, while Massage can aid in relieving stress, increasing mobility and flexibility, as well as improving circulation throughout the body.

Both of these practices can be beneficial, depending on the individual’s needs, and should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

Learn More About Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger Point Therapy offers many advantages over traditional massages, such as increased circulation, relieving stress and pain, and improved range of motion. It’s an effective way to relieve muscle tension and can ultimately lead to improved well-being. 

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