About Upwey Myotherapy
Myotherapy – Experience the difference
By Polly Bongiorno & Mathew Richardson
Have you heard of someone proclaiming the amazing benefits of myotherapy or have you
seen it listed on your private health fact sheet, but don’t actually know what it is?
You’re not alone. Myotherapy is a significantly smaller and newer allied health profession
than many others. Yet despite its lower profile, Myotherapy has become an effective
treatment for pain since its conception in the 1980s, rapidly growing in popularity in recent
years. From its humble beginnings at RMIT in Melbourne, myotherapy has branched out
What is myotherapy?
Myotherapy is a health care profession that focuses on the assessment, treatment and
rehabilitation of pain associated with musculoskeletal conditions.
As the myotherapy profession has grown, so too has its scope of practice, moving beyond
just treating muscles to include many other techniques and options for the treatment of
pain. Myotherapists are known for being hands on with their treatments, and one of their
great strengths is their soft tissue skills. This is a short-term intervention to calm down an edgy
or protective nervous system that allows your myotherapist to explore longer-term solutions.
The treatment skills of a myotherapist can be classified broadly as either active or passive.
Passive treatments are those that are ‘done to you’, providing short-term relief of pain to
restore preferred movements. These can be incredibly helpful when working to change
protective muscle spasms, movement patterns, fears and stress. Active treatments are
longer lasting, and involve you taking action to change behaviors that will lead to
long-term changes in your health problems and lifestyle. These include exercise, education,
lifestyle modifications and exploring the many different contributors to your pain.
In essence, myotherapy helps people in pain to move better and live their best life. A
myotherapist will foster a relationship of respect, care and trust with you, to form a unique
plan to get you back to doing what you love.
So, what sets myotherapy apart from the rest?
Myotherapy treatment sessions are often longer than those of other allied health providers,
to plan and implement a comprehensive foundation for care and recovery. As well as
giving ample time for strong hands-on therapy and exercise rehabilitation, this allows the
myotherapist to nurture the relationship with you, and to develop and communicate an
individualized plan for your future.
Myotherapists are uniquely placed to offer a wide range of personalized treatments that
can help to reduce pain, get you moving again and find ways to get you back to doing
what you love. Coming from small beginnings as a profession, myotherapists have had to
fight hard to be respected among other health professions. Consequently, they have
developed incredible problem-solving skills, which set them apart from their peers, and are
passionate in advocacy for their patients. Myotherapists will see people who have fallen
between the cracks of the allied health care system, who have had little success with other
treatment providers, and hence myotherapists have become excellent at thinking outside
the box in treating people living with pain. No two people are the same, and thus no two
people should be treated the same when it comes to pain.
What does a typical session with a myotherapist look like?
A myotherapist will spend time with you. One of the greatest benefits of a myotherapy
session is longer treatment time, which allows them to get your full story, develop an
authentic relationship with you and tailor the treatment and outcomes to your expectations
and goals. The therapeutic relationship is one of the strongest determinants of a successful
outcome for any pain treatment.
A myotherapist will listen to your story to understand the nature of your problem and its
impact on your life. This will include any aspects of your life that are affected by your pain.
These can be physical – e.g., work, exercise, lifestyle; psychological – e.g., anxiety, stress,
beliefs; or social – e.g., access to health care, support system, family relationships. A
myotherapist will identify your reasons for coming to see them and what you hope to get
out of the treatment.
A myotherapist will assess your body and movements – muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments,
joints, and rule out serious conditions that may require referral, before moving ahead with
A myotherapist will treat you with a range of interventions, tailored to you and your goals.
This plan may include soft tissue therapy to calm an over-protective nervous system, as well
as exploring lifestyle and stress reduction strategies, exercise and movement interventions.
They will help you find ways to include your valued activities back in your life, as this can be
one of the most powerful ways to influence your body’s protective systems.
A myotherapist will explain and educate you as to what to expect on your journey of
recovery, helping you make sense of why you hurt. Education can be a powerful pain
reliever as you understand why this is happening to you.
How is myotherapy different from physio or osteo?
By definition, there isn’t a lot of difference between musculoskeletal health professionals.
Myotherapists use many of the same orthopedic assessment techniques as physios and
osteopaths, as well as many of the same treatment techniques. Apart from minor
differences in approach, the differences mainly lie in the scope of practice, rather than the
quality of treatment. For example, myotherapists commonly treat general musculoskeletal pain and movement
dysfunction, whereas physiotherapists also extend their treatment to cardiovascular and
serious neurological pathologies. A smaller scope of practice means that myotherapists
achieve excellence in the conditions that they treat.
Myotherapists typically work in many settings such as private clinics, hospitals, sporting clubs
or community health services. As myotherapists are first contact practitioners, you don’t
need a referral to see one and you can claim through your private health fund.
Myotherapists may work closely with allied health professionals, general practitioners and
specialists to establish optimal outcomes for patients living with pain, regardless of the
complexity of their problems.
Myotherapy treatment aims to help you become confident that you can return to moving
your body in ways that best support your lifestyle and what you value. It is all about you.
Consider myotherapy the next time you’re in pain. Myotherapists are health professionals
with an innate understanding of and comprehensive education in the human body, to help
you on your journey to wellness and vitality.
Article was written by Polly Bongiorno and Mathew Richardson- to be replicated or forwarded only with permission