Functionally Optimized Massage vs. Physical Therapy for Workers

With the costs of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) mounting, many organizations are turning to physical therapy and functionally optimized massage to solve MSD’s before they start, and to help employees with MSDs recover faster and find relief sooner. The use of these treatments lowers overall healthcare costs, costs related to employee absence due to injury and medical appointments, and overall improves the quality of work performance. Why? Because employees who are no longer in pain can work more effectively and efficiently. Also, the care your organization shows by offering solutions for MSDs will inspire loyalty and will increase employee motivation to perform well. In this article, we’ll be looking at what functionally optimized massage and physical therapy are, a history of functional massage, and how these therapies are relevant to your workplace. 

What is Functionally Optimized Massage?

If you’re wondering about functionally optimized massage vs. physical therapy, know that they have many of the same goals. Functionally optimized massage is an evidence-based and technology-enabled hands-on treatment system that’s trusted by professional athletes and Fortune 500 companies. It is performed by licensed, trained professionals. This treatment incorporates lengthening and shortening muscle tissue with massage movements. This is often accomplished by stretching because a tight muscle in one area of the body can impair movement or cause pain elsewhere. The functionally optimized massage starts with an assessment of your physical condition by your therapist. This style of massage works by identifying the root cause of your pain and addressing it through massage and stretching. Relief from tissue adhesions, pain, swelling, and tight muscles are all benefits of functionally optimized massage. 

History of Functionally Optimized Massage

The roots of functionally optimized massage are in what is now known as the OMT Kaltenbom-Evjenth system, which is a result of decades of collaboration between physicians and physical therapists starting in the Nordic countries. Later, professionals from all around the world would join the collaboration. The theories, principles, and techniques of functional massage were refined by John Krauss (Ph.D., PT, OCS, FAAOMPT). He based his work on the original functional massage content, which was developed by Olaf Evjenth. 

What is Physical Therapy?

When it comes to physical therapy vs functionally optimized massage, they have similar goals, if different mechanisms. Physical therapy’s goal is to ease pain and increase function. It’s used for pain, to improve movement and ability, prevent or help recover from sports-related injuries, prevent disability, improve balance, manage a chronic disease like arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease, to help recovery after a stroke, injury, accident, or surgery, etc. Physical therapy is administered by a licensed, trained professional and includes an assessment of your physical capabilities and treatments. 

Physical therapy treatments include a wide variety of exercises and stretches, which your physical therapist will guide you through. Massage is a frequently used physical therapy technique and can include hot and cold therapy, water therapy, or even the use of ultrasound to relax painful, spasming muscles. So, while physical therapy includes massage and often functional massage, it is its own discipline with many tools and a wider application than addressing MSDs.

How are Physical therapy and Functionally Optimized Massage Relevant to Workplace Health?

50% of adults in America suffer from chronic pain due to an injury or MSD, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. MSDs include more than 150 diagnoses of injuries and disorders that affect the human body’s movement resulting in pain, restricted mobility, and reduced strength, according to BioFunctional Health Solutions (BHS). How do MSDs affect your organization? There’s time lost to MSD-related doctor visits. 558 million doctors appointments are needed each year for MSDs, or 4.5 visits per U.S. employee. Then there is the direct cost of MSDs to your organization. Direct medical runs $1500 per employee and workers’ compensation is $159. Additionally, your organization will lose almost three days of work per employee due to MSDs, or 360 million days of lost work for the whole U.S. workforce. There are 600,000 MSD-related workplace injuries every year in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To translate that number into dollar signs, that’s 297 billion in costs due to lost productivity from MSDs, or $2,397 per U.S. employee. Tools like functionally optimized massage and physical therapy are practical ways to address the costs of MSDs to your organization.

Functionally Optimized Massage from BHS

How does functionally optimized massage help your organization? Our evidence-based and technology-enabled hands-on treatment system has been trusted by professional athletes since 1991. It was developed by industry-leading experts and proved to be the most effective mobility health treatment model. Our treatments are customized, non-invasive, and tailored to resolve your employee’s source of pain. Our expected treatment outcomes include increased productivity and engagement, reduced or eliminated pain, enhanced performance, improved mobility, increased morale, decreased anxiety and stress, and improved sleep. Reduce your healthcare bottom line and increase your employees’ productivity and morale with functionally optimized massage from BHS. Reach out to us today to get started.