Hey, everyone. Welcome back to "Pr1me Time." Today, we're gonna get into a pretty hot topic. What's the difference between physical therapy and massage therapy? And it's a question that's popping up more and more and to some extent I think it's actually more relevant than it ever has been. I think there used to be such clear lines about what we do and what our place and our role is in healthcare. And as we progress through the years, we're seeing some blurrier lines, not as black and white as we want it to be. So, I think it does call for the time today to kind of walk through it and discuss and understand that even though I'm a physical therapist, I'm not gonna be necessarily only supporting the therapist role in here. In fact, that's half the reason I wanna talk about it. So, it's created this transition from the point that we had such clear lines to where we're at now.
Well, I think part of it is actually just the autonomy of massage therapists or bodywork specialists. I've seen just in the peanut gallery observing in my area an implosion of different types of massage therapy. It used to be very clear and simple. It was massage therapy. You go to a maybe traditional corporate place, and you pretty much knew what you're gonna get there. But, now, with some level of increased entrepreneurship, there are a lot of massage therapists that are kind of finding their own niche and their practice. And there's a lot of sub-specialties making it very blurry. In the case that, if you just go to find a massage therapist, or bodywork specialist or whatever they call themselves, it's kinda like you're not quite sure what you're gonna get with them. And to some extent, I actually think that's a good thing because you're adding in some variety, you're getting some sub-specialization. And I think you're gonna get a lot more diamonds in the rough because you're gonna find specific types of niches out there that can really actually be helpful.
Now, along with that, the implosion of that also means that I find a lot of people may be going above and beyond maybe what they could or should be doing. And that's really where a physical therapist could step in, such as really prescribing therapeutic exercises that will significantly help them in their process, prescribing strength and conditioning workout programs, prescribing self-mobilization, both joint in tissue-based at home, that the therapist is qualified to do. And so, you are seeing a little bit more of that from a massage therapist role. Is it good or bad? I really can't speak for massage therapy. At the end of the day, I just want the client to get the best experience possible. I just want there to be some level of credence and understanding as to what our roles are in our healthcare.
Now, flip over to physical therapist. I'm gonna just come out and say, I'm really, really disappointed with the direction that my practice has gone. And really the reason behind that is the volumization of insurance space care. You know, if you're responsible for seeing, and I've been there, responsible for seeing three to I've even heard of upwards of five people in an hour, you're flooded with documentation requirements, we're getting more and more stringent. You're on the phone talking to insurances yourself all the time. You might be responsible for handing people off to tech or to an aide, doing laundry, I mean, literally, all kinds of stuff. That leads it to very...or lack of skilled type of care. It's totally unskillful if I have to see three people because I think something that is fading away that's something that physical therapist needs to really maintain its strength on is our hands-on care, our joint mobilizations, our manual therapy is kinda what we call it which is a composite of any type of deep tissue massage and myofascia massage and all the different types of even words come out at this point, active release type of therapy, I mean, all that landscape we should continue to strive for improvement on because I truly think in my own experience, you really can just have your hand in one of the cookie jars, you've gotta have your hand in all the cookie jars to provide someone the best opportunity to get from point A to point B. What I mean by that is, I think a lot of physical therapists find ourselves all in either just [inaudible 00:04:57] therapy, very passive. People are just staying on the table. And we're only doing the hands-on work. And then you also have the type of therapists that are only exercise-based. That leaves room for massage therapists to even step in because there's a need there. People know it. There's a need for their tissue to be worked on as well as the strength and conditioning requirements and putting it all together with improving the workout so they can get back to doing the things they want. So, heck there's a lot of people that have gone to traditional type of physical therapy, and they'd seen, you know, not only one provider who was dealing with two or three other people at the time, but they have seen multiple different types of therapists throughout their plan of care.
So, every therapist is playing catch up, right? And that does not leave for a good continuity of care nor result. So, you find these people on these gaps and these voids who've tried maybe going a typical route but they went through the volumization of care, didn't really help. So, why not maybe just go down the street? Try a massage therapist. And sure they'll pay out of pocket but they're accustomed to doing that of course because really insurance hasn't played a role in there. So, that also means massage therapists have a lot more free will, that what they can do. So, a lot of psychical therapists we've been bound down by what insurances think we should be doing and how we should be doing it, isn't that crazy? We have a doctor degree. But yet we're being told what we can or can't do based upon the insurance, if you have an insurance-based setting. Here at Prime Movement, we found a way to help people get reimbursed and bill for them. But we're not gonna be bound down by what the insurance thinks I need to do. Every moment of my life I'm always thinking about how I can improve the quality of care I give someone. Heck, I'm a madman. I'm always trying different stretches at home. You can ask my wife, she's like, "Yeah, he's...we'll be putting our kid to bed and Chad will be doing some weird stretch over there. I don't know what the hell he's doing." Like I'm always playing around and thinking about different types of ways, manual therapy stretching exercise, to improve the quality of care I give. So, why would I let someone behind the seat in Georgia who's working for an insurance tell me who lives every dying breath for physical therapy for the best quality care? Why would I let them tell me what to do? See massage therapists, they really haven't had that role. So, there's been like I said, an implosion of opportunity for them.
Now, I actually think, more times than not, we can work synergistically. I definitely think the two practitioners have to be on the same page. Most people just think automatically, "Okay, I'll kinda go see my physical therapy and go receive my massage therapy and it should just work out." It really depends on who the heck those two people are, and what their paradigms are and what their thought processes are. There's a lot of different types of thought processes in terms of how to help someone move forwards. If those two providers, and this could even be filled with therapist to physical therapist, massage therapist to physical therapist, or even two massage therapists working kind of synergistically with someone. If those people don't agree and kind of stay in the lane that they know they're responsible for, that can not...at times that won't be helpful. And in fact, they're...they could hold someone back from really improving because they're maybe both doing tug of war and they're pulling the wrong way. I think at times, it can work beautifully. I just think that there has to be communication between provider to provider and an openness and a willingness to kind of work with each other. That's happened with myself several times before, "Hey, you know, whoever, Joe, you'll be working massage therapy. I've noticed that, whatever, Luanne's neck is continued to be really tight." And I'm actually responsible for breaking down the movement assessment, the quality, I wanna see the range of motion, I wanna see what's happening at the neck, I wanna see the mobility in their joints, I wanna feel the tightnessess is in really their upper quarter, as well as the strength deficits that might be playing a role. How are they doing a shoulder press? How are they doing rows? How are they carrying weight? What do their ergonomics that look like? We can take care of all of that.
Now the massage therapist could also do some complimentary work, soft tissue work, whatever they're skillful...skilled training unit is and they can work on that person. That doesn't mean that the physical therapist can't too also work in terms of their hands-on care. But, in my opinion, I think physical therapists have a much bigger, broader role where we've got our hands on a lot of different cookie jars, as I've kind of just explained. And if I know I can rely on massage therapists to do their job and really focus from massage therapy perspective, I think that can work wonders. I've had it in the past. And I know a lot of other people too where the other massage therapist may try to go above and beyond and try to provide some level of therapeutic exercise. And it's kind of a debate as to whether they should be doing that or not. I know they probably have good intent, they're trying the best they can. But are they really allowed to do that? Is that really in their scope of practice? But, I wouldn't mind it as much if the exercises were a complete inverse relationship as to what I'm trying to give them.
Let's just say for the neck, and we're working with that person, Luanne, I think I said, who's got really tight neck and let's say I want them to bring their chin forwards, stretch out the upper back part of their neck and the muscles on the back. And my therapeutic exercise and ergonomics and sleeping patterns are all built around that. However, they go to Joe or whoever and they do the massage therapy but they're told that they should find a little pillow, put it on their lower part of their neck, and they should be extending their neck. And they need to continue to do that. Boom, we've got a total conflict right there, in terms of what that client now thinks they need. That leaves them frustrated, it's almost impossible for them to really make the improvements that they're looking for. Because they've been told such differences. And now they feel like the healthcare system hasn't worked for them when it should have. Now, guess what, maybe they failed, "physical therapy," they failed massage therapy. They might do massage therapy once a month as they fade-out of everything, [inaudible 00:11:38] says maybe it's more affordable to them. And it manages the pain a little bit but doesn't help them much more. Now, they're caught in the web of healthcare. And now they might be looking at surgery or what have you. That's really impactful. That's really profound.
So, I definitely think there's an opportunity for massage therapists and physical therapists to really work together. I think it depends on the quality of every person that kinda works together. And really the openness and willingness and using their strengths together to try to help someone. So, I don't think it has to be kind of this binary relationship in this competitive nature. In fact, I myself as a...I'm a huge collaborator. I'd love to be able to have just this huge network of people. And I've been working up into that in terms of Kairos massage therapist, but I'd like to continue to build that. And I think a lot of physical therapists should have that opportunity to build up this network of people that we can trust and work with. But, come survival, come entrepreneurship, and come hazy lines for massage therapists I think it gets challenging.
So, I mean, I think long story short, I think physical therapists and the volumization of insurance and the lack of quality of care that we are providing from more so generalists than specialists is doing our service a huge disservice to clients. It's failing them. It's one reason I've stepped out to create Prime Movement, because the general scheme of physical therapy is going downhill. We're commoditizing our services, selling our services for less and less, negotiating with people, negotiate with insurances less and less. Whereas, you've got this boom of massage therapists who are becoming more so entrepreneurials. They are providing more value. People are used to kind of going to work with a massage therapist. They're expanding their roles. They really are. They're pushing into that. And all of a sudden people are like, "Well, why go into a system that is going to just put me on the bike, half ass, work on me and work on my knee for five minutes, and then go through the same routine set of exercise that I already know how to do. This seems silly. Hell, I'll just go to massage therapist, at least that's one on one for hell, you know, 30 minutes up to an hour and a half depending on who they're working with. And hey, they're trying to give me some exercise and they seem pretty knowledgeable. So, hey, why not?" You see that's kind of what we're running into.
How do we fix it? Well, I'm really not sure. I know for us at Prime Movement, we're trying to lead and pioneer the revolutionary model for providing premium rehabilitative and therapeutic care. We're not allowing ourselves to be bound down by what insurance says. We want to provide every skill set that we possibly can with every practitioner, utilizing their strengths. We wanna be open and to provide the therapeutic exercise, the strength and conditioning workouts that people need. And I would love to know that massage therapists can step in, I know exactly what I'm gonna get from them. They're not gonna get conflicting opinions. Not that I'm always right. Not that physical therapist are always right. If we're really not sure, let's get on the phone and let's talk about it. But I think just the nature of how busy people are nowadays, that's tough to do, but I love for massage therapists to step in and do some accessory work, hell even once a week, twice a week. In an area that maybe we find is recalcitrant, which means it just keeps coming back. They've developed movement patterns that have perpetuated or worsened that tightness in their neck for forever. Maybe stress kicks in, and that too creates tightness in that area. Maybe working with a physical therapist, we're just not there yet, in terms of truly addressing it, because there's so many other weaknesses in ergonomics, in daily habits that are making it really hard to get that tissue to feel the way we want to so that they're pain-free doing the things they love.
So, absolutely go work with a massage therapist and go see them, because we know what we're going to get out of them. You know, and then I think ideally, sure, go see a massage therapist as you need after our plan of care's done. There might be kind of a "physician model checkup" where you come in once every six months or three months or heck even a year, just to make sure that those movement qualities and everything and sustaining. This should be a collaborative model. Unfortunately, it's not as I've said earlier, because of the two different models of care that I think are pretty profound in terms of physical therapy, as well as massage therapy.
So, big topic guys, I hope you take away from that, that I'm not pointing the finger at massage therapy, if anything I'm taking ownership for the lack of quality of care that physical therapy is giving. I in some ways support massage therapies and their entrepreneurship and the progression. They don't really have limitations or at least for what I'm seeing those who are being audited pretty routinely. So, they're kind of being amorphous and ever-changing to their scope of practice that I don't blame them. However, I would like there to be clear lines, more understanding of what we're gonna get the different types of massage therapists so that I know from a physical therapist perspective, we can really work together and collaborate without giving conflicting opinions and I think it really boils down to that.
Let me know what you guys think, I'd be super interested to hear what you think on this. And maybe I'm way off, who knows? Maybe I'm right. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to hear more about it. If you're watching this on Facebook, feel free to comment below and like I said, if you're listening to this on our podcast, feel free to shoot me an email at that. Love to have a conversation with you. So, thank you guys so much for tuning in again today. Have a great rest of your day.