What’s the difference between Chiropractors and Massage Therapists

We get this question A LOT over the phone or in the office. Even the massage therapist in our office gets asked is she can “adjust” or even take X-rays. I know, I know,  you must be thinking, but don’t you work on the same problems? The short answer is YES, but we work on entirely different systems which can cause a lot of confusion between our professions.


Common Questions!

What makes you different from a massage therapist and whom should I go to if I have “this” problem? Are Massage therapists doctors? Can Massage therapists adjust me?  How many hours of practice to you have in order to practice? Can a massage therapist diagnose me?


Massage Therapists

1. Massage Therapists do not have a doctorate degree.  There ARE schools just for Massage Therapy, but a 4+year degree is not required.  They do in fact have to have a license and depending on each state they need a range of 330-1000 training hours. Massage Therapist also have the option to take more extracurricular classes depending on what they want their specialty to be.

2. Massage therapists solely focus on soft tissues such as muscle, connective tissues, tendons, and ligaments. You often times see massage therapist using movement to help relax/loosen the muscles and soft tissues

3. Massage therapists can specialize in a type of massage such as Swedish, sports, deep tissue and more! This is super cool because this differentiates them from a masseuse. Massage therapists can differentiate themselves and continue their education!

4. Massage therapists are not licensed to adjust like a chiropractor. They help manipulate and massage the soft tissue, not the bone itself. Massage therapists do NOT adjust, but sometimes you can hear a crack while they work with the soft tissue. That crack is spontaneous and not an actual adjustment! Again, they only work on the soft tissue!




1. Chiropractors have their doctorate degrees! Chiropractors can do continuing  education while in school to specialize even more in the field of Sports, radiology, pediatrics and Upper Cervical! It is required by law to have a bachelors, 4-year undergraduate degree, in order to be qualified as a Chiropractor. Not only that, but Chiropractors have to continue to get their doctorate with requirements of over 4000 clinical science and basic hours!!! Students are required to take Chemistry, Pathology, Radiology and more clinical sciences!


2. Chiropractors are required to take National Board Examinations in order to practice in the U.S.  These examinations are extensive with understanding clinical experience, radiology and more! The Exam is broken down in 4 parts along with a physical therapy part.


3. Chiropractors can perform physicals, any necessary X-rays, prevention of a condition, Chiropractic treatment, depending on the state, can give nutritional advice and more! Chiropractors are extremely qualified!


4. Chiropractors solely focus on treating the nervous system and any misalignments.  The goal is to get the brain and body communicating optimally!


With that being said, chiropractors and massage therapist’s number one goal is to get the patient to feel not only better, but to get them to achieve optimal health!