Myotherapy is a manual therapy used to assess and holistically treat muscular, bone, connective tissue and nervous system concerns.
In addition to hands on treatment, myotherapists prescribe rehabilitation plans and give other advice to treat or manage a client’s condition.
Another name that is sometimes given to some myotherapists is musculoskeletal therapist (MST). Myotherapists differ from chiropractors and physiotherapists though, as they take a more holistic approach to client care and give equal attention to treating a client’s symptoms and the underlying root causes, which often results in long-lasting improvement.
Employment prospects for natural health practitioners are tipped to grow very strongly up to 2017, according to respected federal government initiative Job Outlook. The Complementary Healthcare Council of Australia backed this trend, with the majority of its members predicting industry growth over the next three years.
78% of musculoskeletal therapists/myotherapists surveyed by Endeavour in 2013 are currently working in clinical practice, with 31% owning and operating their own clinic.
17% of musculoskeletal therapists/myotherapists surveyed by Endeavour earn more than $100,000 a year.
MSTs and Myotherapists may work as Vocational Rehabilitation Practitioners. This role involves assisting people with impairments or disabilities to access, maintain or return to employment. It typically involves thorough assessment, design and implementation of a rehabilitation program, and documentation of the client’s progress. In this career, practitioners work side by side with physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other health professionals, liaising with employers, insurance companies and medical practitioners.
Many myotherapists treat clients in their own clinic or work from a multi-modality clinic in consultation with other healthcare providers. Myotherapists typically work to assist clients with acute injury, pain management or rehabilitation and treat symptoms associated with the nervous, muscular or skeletal systems. Practitioners may focus on particular areas of interest such as elite sport (commonly AFL, rugby, cycling, running), performance (musicians and singers), pre- and post-pregnancy, elderly care.
Myotherapists may work as vocational rehabilitation practitioners. This role involves assisting people with injuries or impairments to access, maintain or return to employment. It typically involves a thorough assessment, design and implementation of a rehabilitation program and documentation of the client’s progress. In this career, practitioners work side by side with physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other health professionals, frequently liaising with employers, insurance companies and medical practitioners.
As a sports therapist or sports trainer, a myotherapist works closely with coaches and other healthcare professionals to ensure optimal outcomes for the athlete or team. Sports therapists often treat court-side or on the field, to keep the athlete performing at their best when it matters most. In this role, myotherapists are responsible for treatments pre- and post-game to enhance performance, recovery and overall athlete development.
Movement specialists assess and assist to change a client’s problematic movement patterns and inflexibility. Clients often seek a movement specialist’s help in order to continue their sport, hobby or work activity that has become untenable due to recurrent injury, pain or dysfunction. In this role, you will develop a series of cues, stretches and exercises to repattern or modify the way your client moves in their environment. Most frequently, movement specialists work alongside personal trainers, exercise physiologists or coaches in a gym environment.
Myotherapists may work as health coaches, often with a specialist client group such as people with chronic pain, or mothers of young children. In this role, the myotherapist works with the client on their training, strength and conditioning needs, to boost their performance and help prevent or manage injuries and pain. Health coaches seek to educate clients and increase their awareness of their own and optimal behaviours. They assist clients to identify key goals and put them into action using changes that are gradual, sustainable and well supported.
Myotherapists and MSTs are in demand as lecturers, supervisors and academics with leading education institutions around the world. This can involve writing course curriculum for vocational and higher education institutions, guiding students through the academic process, evaluation assessments and exams and presenting seminars and workshops to students.
Some Myotherapists and MSTs specialise in research, focusing on areas such as chronic pain management, effectiveness of particular interventions (such as dry needling) or public health statistics. Researchers contribute to and develop the body of knowledge in their field which assists other Myotherapists to follow evidence based practice.
Most myotherapists/musculoskeletal therapists surveyed by Endeavour see between 21 and 30 patients a week.
Myotherapists can choose to do further study in the areas of physiotherapy, chiropractic, occupational therapy, chronic pain specialty, osteopathy and exercise physiology.