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3 Differences Between a Massage Therapist & a Chiropractor October 8, 2019

Mccully - Moiliili, Honolulu
3 Differences Between a Massage Therapist & a Chiropractor, Honolulu, Hawaii

Massage therapy and chiropractic services both reduce stress and pain. As holistic medicines, they strive to improve the overall health of the patient by lessening the need for medications and promoting self-healing. If you’re looking into becoming a massage therapist but are unsure of the distinctions between these two professions, here are the main differences.

3 Ways Massage Therapy & Chiropractic Are Different

1. Tissue Manipulation

Both manipulate tissue, but at different levels. Massage works with soft tissue, which comprises muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support or connect other structures in the body.

Chiropractic’s focus is hard tissue, or bone. When bones are misaligned, the body alters its movements to compensate, which stresses the muscles and joints and causes pain. Hard tissue manipulation relieves these symptoms.

2. Main Areas of Work

Massage TherapyMassage works all over the body to improve circulation and flexibility as well as stimulate the tissue. By providing proper blood flow to the tissues, massage enhances the nervous system’s ability to send signals to the brain and promotes healing.

Chiropractic services focus on neuroskeletal care by working along the spinal column. When vertebrae shift out of place, they pinch nerves, causing sciatica, headaches, and other ailments. By popping bones back into place, the spinal column and its neural links work more efficiently.

3. Techniques

Each profession has specific techniques unique to its field of study. Massage therapists may use long strokes to promote blood flow, or deep tissue and pressure point massage to relieve sore muscles. Some may employ acupressure or acupuncture techniques as well.

Chiropractors focus on bone techniques, such as the common direct thrust maneuver. A quick pressure of low intensity across the spine causes a popping or cracking sound. Articulatory or myofascial release focuses on specific joints or membranes to increase range of motion and remove stiffness.


If you’re interested in a career of massage therapy, contact Hawaii Massage Academy in Honolulu. They’ve provided massage schooling to over 4,000 students since 1983. Their instructors have over 20 years of experience to prepare you for the State of Hawaii Licensing Examination and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork. Visit them online to learn more about their classes, or call (808) 955-4555 for more details about enrollment.

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