How can myotherapy nourish your soul?
Myotherapy, translated from the Greek term ‘myo’ meaning ‘muscle,’ is a form of physical therapy concerned with the prevention, treatment and management of musculoskeletal pain and associated conditions.
Myotherapy is founded on Western medical principles of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and pathology. This modality incorporates a wide range of evidence-based techniques such as manual therapy, dry needling, trigger point therapy, joint mobilisation, cupping, stretching, exercise rehabilitation, taping and pain management.
Myotherapy is differentiated from other therapies such as remedial massage or physiotherapy by its unique and holistic approach to help the body heal from musculoskeletal and neuromuscular dysfunction.
While remedial massage exclusively uses massage techniques to assist with muscle pain and physiotherapy is primarily concerned with the rehabilitation of joint injuries, Myotherapists have a deep understanding of the human anatomy and offer a more comprehensive treatment protocol to treat pain and misalignment.
Myotherapists are considered primary health care providers and may operate from stand-alone practices or in multidisciplinary environments.
In Australia, Myotherapists receive qualifications from government-accredited institutions and must be registered with a recognised professional body such as the Australian Natural Therapists Association or Myotherapy Association Australia.
Benefits of myotherapy
The benefits of myotherapy are numerous given its comprehensive approach to muscle therapy and reliance on a range of evidence-based techniques.
Trigger point dry needling, for example, is one such technique with clinical research to support its efficacy for reducing acute and chronic pain, as well as improving motor performance and range of motion. Notably, two separate publications validate dry needling as effective for the management of myofascial pain originating in the neck, shoulders and spinal muscles.
Myotherapy may assist in relieving symptoms related to:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Back pain
- Foot, heel and ankle issues
- Headaches and migraines
- Joint issues
- Muscle spasm, tightness and cramps
- Muscle strain and injury
- Neck pain
- Pain relief
- Posture and spine issues
- Sports injuries
- Sprains, strains and ligament injuries
- Tennis elbow and repetitive strain injury (RSI)
What to expect from a myotherapy session
A qualified myotherapist should conduct a thorough assessment during your first appointment. You will be asked questions regarding your medical history, prior illness, injuries or surgeries. This is to ensure that your myotherapist has a well-informed understanding of your symptoms and general health.
Your initial discussion will be followed by careful examination and manipulation of the affected joints and muscles. Reflex testing, range of motion checks, gait examination, posture assessment, palpation or orthopaedic, neurological and functional testing are routine methods used in this setting.
The nature of your symptoms will determine your treatment, as well as the requirement for ongoing myotherapy management. You may also be advised on home treatment options such as exercises, stretches, heat and cold therapy or relaxation techniques to further your recovery.
Since myotherapists often work alongside other healthcare professionals to optimise patient outcomes, you may be referred to other practitioners for complementary treatment.
A referral from your doctor or healthcare practitioner is not required for myotherapy, however, your medical practitioner may be able to provide appropriate recommendations. According to the Myotherapy Association Australia, consultations with qualified Myotherapists may entitle you to health fund rebates which vary between funds and policies.
As with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your medical professional before commencing myotherapy. Don’t hesitate to ask your therapist about your health condition, prescribed exercises, or if you are experiencing any unexpected pain or discomfort. They will be happy to address your concerns and adjust your treatment, or refer you to other healthcare specialists as needed.