Massage Therapy  with Dee Hiatt, 
Massage Therapy, Physical Therapy & Chiropractic Practitioners in CT
September, 2003
For more complete information, go to the specific licensure sites at

Massage Therapist

Scope of Practice: Systemic and scientific manipulation and treatment of soft tissues of the body for the purpose of establishing and maintaining good physical and mental health. Treatment may include use of pressure, friction, percussion, range of motion and may involve the use of oil, ice, hot/cold packs, steam, dry heat.

Licensure: Required in CT. Must be graduate of an accredited school with a minimum of 500 hours of study. Must pass a national certification exam.

Continuing Education: Not required for licensure renewal.

Insurance Coverage: Spotty and not usually generous.

Physical Therapist

Scope of Practice: Performance of tests and measurements as an aid to evaluate function and use of therapeutic exercises and rehabilitation procedures, with or without assistive devices, for the purpose of correcting or alleviating a physical or mental disability. May include use of heat, cold, hydrotherapy, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and wound therapy. May give initial evaluation without doctorís order; otherwise, treatment requires order from doctor of medicine, podiatry, osteopathy, dentistry, chiropractic or naturopathy.

Licensure: Required in CT. Must be a graduate of an accredited, bachelorís degree program and pass a state exam. (Master and Ph.D. degrees are available.)

Continuing Education: Not required for licensure.

Insurance Coverage: Many insurances cover physical therapy. Plans vary and may include limitations in the amount of payment and the number of sessions.

Scope of Practice: Adjustment, manipulation and treatment of the human body where there are vertebral subluxations and other malpositioned joints that may be a cause of disease by interfering with normal generation, transmission and expression of nerve impulses between the brain, organs and tissue cells of the body. Treatment may include the use of x-rays, acupuncture, electrical stimulation, heat and cold, food, food concentrates, food extracts, vitamins.

Licensure: Required in CT. Must be a graduate of an accredited school of chiropractic with no less than 4,000 hours of study. (A bachelorís degree is necessary to enter most schools.) Must pass a written and practical state exam.

Continuing Education: 48 credit hours are required every two years.

Insurance Coverage: Many insurances cover chiropractic. Plans vary and may include limitations in the amount of payment and the number of sessions.
In Conclusion

A doctor of chiropractic is able to diagnose as well as treat patients. Physical therapists and massage therapists cannot make diagnoses.

Physical therapists work with areas of dysfunction as specified in the referral order. They generally see patients in a hospital, nursing facility or out-patient setting for a limited time during episodes of dysfunction.

Massage therapists can see clients independently of the medical system. They can address specific soft tissue problems of the whole body as well as offer relaxation. Sessions usually involve longer hands-on time than sessions of chiropractic and physical therapy and generally cost less.

A wise practitioner knows when to refer clients/patients to a massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor or to a doctor of osteopathy, orthopedics, general medicine or physical medicine and rehabilitation.
© 2004, Dee Hiatt
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