The Definitive Guide To Myotherapy
Designed to assess, treat and rehabilitate physical pain and muscle injuries, Myotherapy is a well-respected physical therapy that can improve muscle and joint function and performance.
About this guide
Want to learn more about Myotherapy? This guide is designed to provide a complete overview of Myotherapy, including:
- Myotherapy definition
- Myotherapy vs other modalities
- What can Myotherapy treat?
- What to expect from your Myotherapy consultation
Table of contents
What is Myotherapy? Learn what Myotherapy is, what Myotherapists do, the philosophy behind Myotherapy, and how Myotherapy is different from other modalities.
- How does Myotherapy work? From how Myotherapy is performed to what causes myofascial pain and what Myotherapy can assist with, this chapter outlines the practical aspects of Myotherapy.
- What do I need to know before my Myotherapy therapy? Find out how to choose the right Myotherapist for you, what to expect from your Myotherapy session, and helpful questions to ask your Myotherapist.
Myotherapy definition: What is Myotherapy?
Myotherapy is a physical therapy designed to prevent, treat and manage musculoskeletal pain and associated pathologies.
What is a Myotherapist?
A Myotherapist is a primary care allied health professional who treats muscle and joint-related pain and dysfunction. This treatment is often offered in conjunction with Physiotherapy, Osteopathy and Chiropractic. Myotherapists are expertly trained in a wide range of orthopaedic, neurologic and functional testing to gain a thorough understanding of a client’s physical state.
How does Myotherapy work?
Myotherapy draws upon Western medical principles of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and pathology. Myotherapy includes a range of manual therapies to ease a client’s pain, including soft tissue therapy, joint mobilisation, myofascial cupping therapy, dry needling, corrective and rehabilitative exercise, taping, and prescriptive advice on muscle and pain management.
Myotherapy vs other modalities: What’s the difference?
Myotherapy is occasionally confused with other health modalities. This is understandable, as Myotherapists often work alongside Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Osteopaths and Chiropractors to treat muscle and joint pain.
While superficially similar, Myotherapy plays a unique role in helping the body recover from musculoskeletal and neuromuscular disorders. Here are some of the major differences between Myotherapy and the treatments it is sometimes mistaken for.
Myotherapy vs remedial massage therapy
Myotherapy began as an extension of Remedial Massage. It emerged to treat more complex conditions than Remedial Therapy can address alone.
Remedial Massage therapy focuses on manipulating the superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. Its primary goals are to enhance function, release muscular tension, aid healing, and promote relaxation.
Myotherapy expands beyond massage, using a wide range of treatments to aid muscle and joint recovery. Myotherapy also incorporates a deeper understanding of the human body, anatomy and physiology into its massage techniques, along with a host of other manual therapy interventions.
Myotherapy vs physio
Myotherapy and Physiotherapy share many techniques, including soft tissue techniques, exercise and mobilisation. However, there are a few crucial differences.
Physiotherapists often work in the hospital setting and their training has a large focus on physical rehabilitation, pre- and post- surgical management and exercise prescription. Myotherapists do not typically work in hospitals. Instead, they work primarily in private practice and have more of a hands-on approach to treating pain presentations.
Myotherapy vs osteopathy
Osteopathy is largely focussed on joints and influencing their positioning and function. While joint dysfunction can be an aspect of myotherapy, its major focus is on the soft tissues and nerves.
What can Myotherapy help with?
According to experts, Myotherapy can help prevent and treat a range of acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain and disorders. These include:
- Myofascial pain - Myofascia is the connection of muscle and fascia (connective tissue). All of our muscles are surrounded and protected by fascia. Pain arising from our myofascia can originate from trigger points (local points of tension within myofascial tissue), from overloaded myofascia from exercise or poor posture, or from other inflammatory or nervous system related issues. Myofascial pain often presents with a dull aching sensation and can produce referred pain to other locations.
- Lower back pain - Lower back pain is typically a result of spinal stenosis, a sudden injury to the muscles and ligaments, osteoarthritis, compression of nerves, lack of physical activity, disk injuries, scoliosis or poor posture. Myotherapy can help decrease muscle tightness, restore the body’s natural posture and relax the spasm muscle to promote long-term healing.
- Tension headaches and migraines - Myotherapy is an excellent option for managing the causes and symptoms of tension headaches and migraines. Often the source of this issue is neck or jaw-related. The Myotherapist can employ a wide range of clinical options, including myotherapy massage, to help alleviate the pain.
- Sports injuries, such as muscle sprains, strains and tears - Well-sought after within the professional sporting world, Myotherapy often plays a crucial role in treating and rehabilitating sports injuries. Myotherapy can not only help restore optimal activity (rehabilitation), it can reduce the likelihood of further injury.
- Tendinopathy - Tendon pain can be incredibly difficult to accurately assess and manage. Myotherapists are trained to identify tendon problems and create an effective clinical intervention that reduces pain and inflammation.
- Degenerative joint pain - Myotherapy can help alleviate pain associated with arthritic presentations and improve function to allow healthy and comfortable movement.
- Rehabilitation from surgery - Manual therapy and exercise are important for an effective post-surgical recovery in many cases. Myotherapists are skilled in helping people recover faster and helping them get back to work or sport.
How is Myotherapy performed?
Myotherapists are qualified to assess and treat muscles, joints and nerves using a variety of treatment modalities, including:
- Soft tissue therapy - Soft tissue therapy may involve massage, myofascial release techniques and a host of other hands-on therapies to influence the tone of muscles and connective tissue.
- Trigger point therapy - Trigger point therapy is a form of remedial massage therapy where direct pressure is applied to specific points on tender muscle tissue to reduce muscle tension and provide pain relief.
- Muscle Energy Technique (MET) - By employing a number of neurological reflexes, this form of manual therapy can produce a highly effective and efficient method of stretching myofascial tissue.
- Myofascial dry needling - Like acupuncture, dry needling involves inserting sterile, single-use, fine needles into the body. However, its goal is to influence the nervous system and myofascial tissue to reduce pain and improve movement.
- Myofascial cupping therapy - Myofascial cupping is a soft tissue therapy that involves creating a negative pressure or suction on the skin with glass cups. These draw and hold skin and superficial muscle and fascia inside the cup, creating a sustained stretch and encouraging improved tone in the tissue.
- Taping - Using both rigid and kinesiology tape, taping is employed to stabilise joints, unload injured tissue, correct faulty posture, reduce pain and improve performance.
- Joint mobilisation - Joint mobilisation is a manual therapy that involves performing a back-and-forth oscillation of a skeletal joint to restore motion. It specifically addresses joint pain and poor range of motion.
- Corrective and rehabilitative exercises - A Myotherapist takes a systematic approach to identifying deficits, such as posture issues, movement imbalances or joint limitations. They will create and prescribe an exercise-based intervention to address these physical complaints.
- Electrotherapy - Electrotherapy uses a number of different devices that can deliver a low voltage electrical current to the body in a very controlled way to reduce pain, improve muscle performance, decrease tension and much more.
What do I need to know before my Myotherapy therapy?
How to choose a Myotherapist
Here is how to select the best Myotherapist:
- Qualifications: Australian Myotherapists must receive relevant training from a government-accredited educational institution. They must also be registered with a nationally-recognised association, such as Australian Natural Therapists Association or Myotherapy Association Australia. The current minimum qualification is an Advanced Diploma in Remedial Massage (Myotherapy), although an increasing number of Myotherapists complete higher education with a Bachelor of Health Science (Clinical Myotherapy).
- Referrals: Getting a positive referral from a friend or family member is one of the best ways to ensure that you receive a high standard of treatment.
- Accessibility: You might find yourself needing weekly or fortnightly visits to your Myotherapist in the short term to assist with resolving your issue faster. Where possible, chose a clinic or Myotherapist that is relatively convenient to get to.
- Expertise relevant to your condition: Ideally, try to find an Myotherapist whose expertise aligns with your specific health needs. Many Myotherapists will have a special interest in or extensive experience in a particular specialty. Ask when you call for an appointment.
- Cleanliness: Myotherapists are bound by a national code of conduct and their clinical environment should be clean, tidy and not pose any risk of infection or injury.
What can I expect from my first Myotherapy appointment?
On your first visit, your Myotherapist’s goal is to gain a deep and complete picture of your symptoms and health. This will allow them to design a treatment plan tailored to what will benefit you most.
Your appointment will typically last for an hour. Your Myotherapist will want to know about your current physical and mental health, medical history and health goals. To help your Myotherapist pinpoint the cause of your symptoms and provide the best care possible, it is important to answer honestly. Any information disclosed will be kept in strictest confidence.
Here are some things your practitioner may ask about:
- Medicines - Provide a list of any medicines you are currently taking.
- Test results - Bring along any scans, X-rays, MRI or test results about your injury or conditioner to help your Myotherapist understand the big picture.
- Long-term health goals - If you have specific goals around your physical fitness, abilities or challenges, let your Myotherapist know.
- Phobias or concerns - If you’re not comfortable with a particular treatment, let your Myotherapist know. For example, if you have a needle phobia, they can adapt your treatment plan to exclude dry needling.
Your Myotherapist will perform a thorough physical assessment. By asking the right questions and observing your ability to perform clinical tests, your Myotherapist will be able to which tissues and mechanisms are involved in your pain. Depending on your physical complaint, this assessment may involve:
- Examining the affected joints and associated muscles
- Testing your reflexes
- Checking your range of movement
- Examining your gait
- Assessing your posture
- Using orthopaedic, neurological and functional testing to assess your injury or complaint
Once your Myotherapist has identified the right treatment or pain management plan, you will receive your first myotherapy treatment.
Your Myotherapist may provide advice on self-care strategies and exercises to utilise at home, as well as adjustments you can make to your daily routine to reduce your symptoms.
Will Myotherapy treatment hurt?
No, pain is not necessary to produce a therapeutic outcome. At all times, you are in control of your treatment and can accept or reject any manual therapy intervention. Some Myotherapy techniques have the potential to produce some discomfort, but at no point should you experience unmanageable pain.
How long does Myotherapy take to work?
This largely depends on your presentation. However, you should expect to see some improvement after one or two consultations.
How to gain ANTA Accreditation in Myotherapy?
Here are a few tips to help you gain accreditation with ANTA in Myotherapy.
- Review our recognised courses to obtain information on colleges and courses ANTA recognises for accreditation
- Download a Membership Application form, fully complete and post into ANTA
- Ensure you have certified copies of your qualifications and academic records
- Use the applicants checklist within the application to ensure fully completed
ANTA's Scope and Standards of Practice
To view ANTA's commitment to the delivery of quality health care, public safety and promoting informed choices in Myotherapy read our Scope and Standards of Practice.
Scope and Standards of Practice - Myotherapy
Locate an ANTA accredited Myotherapy practitioner
Click here to find an Myotherapy practitioner in your area!
View ANTA Recognised Courses