Alternative health: chiropractic care and massage

There are many differences and similarities between chiropractic care and massages, but both therapies offer tremendous benefits.


CANTON, Ga. — Imagine you have just left the gym after an hour-long intense work-out. You have hydrated well and you are on your way to run some errands.

As soon as you walk out of the locker room, you feel an intense and shooting pain from your shoulder down your back. You made sure you had correct form during your work-out, so you begin to wonder what the pain could possibly be.

You decide to call a friend to see what to do. They recommend a chiropractor, but also suggest looking into massage therapy.

Chiropractic Care

Dr. Cynthia Iraci has been a practicing chiropractor for nearly 30 years and has her own office in Canton called Cherokee Wellness Center. Iraci believes there are many benefits to a chiropractic adjustment.

“Chiropractic care is a science, an art and a philosophy,” says Iraci. “It is used to remove interference in the nervous system caused when a vertebra compresses the nerve root or a peripheral nerve.”

Iraci explains that having a spinal alignment can prevent more problems in the nervous system, and the spine is usually the first place to check if there is an issue. To make sure you have proper alignment, Iraci suggests a spinal check multiple times a year, and to have an adjustment when needed.

Massage Therapy

Kathy Menard, a licensed massage therapist for the past 26 years in Cherokee County, says, “Massage therapy is a healing art that has been used for centuries to help relieve pain, stiffness, and improve overall health and wellbeing.”

Menard continues, “Massage therapy is used to relax the muscles that attach to the bones to increase range of motion, and decrease pain by releasing any areas of tension that are caused by muscle strain and tightness as well as to increase circulation.”

There are many types of massage to choose from, ranging from relaxation, deep tissue, Thai massage, and hot stone massage. Depending on your specific needs, most massage therapists will have you fill out a form your first visit to determine which massage therapy will best benefit you. Never be afraid to interact with your massage therapist during a session.

Menard suggests making sure you inquire about the massage therapist’s background and licensing, since that is now a requirement in the state of Georgia. You can find more information on massage therapists in your area through the American Massage Therapy Association.

Which is best for you?

Now that you have an idea of what each entails, you can actually discuss with the chiropractor and massage therapist which would work best to diagnose your shoulder pain.

Both practices work with different parts of the skeletal, muscular, and nervous system, but oftentimes massage therapists and chiropractors work together.

“They both work on the soft tissue, have a person’s best interest at heart and do whatever they can to decrease suffering,” Iraci says. “I suggest both, but if there isn’t any nerve interference an adjustment isn’t needed.”

Cost of Massage versus Chiropractic Adjustment

While there are many types of massage therapy, there are only a few types of chiropractic care, and most of them are focused on aligning the spine and optimizing nerve performance. The average cost of chiropractic care at Cherokee Wellness Center in Canton is around $30 per person per session.

“The average cost for a massage session varies depending on the type of massage, length of session, and experience of the therapist,” Menard says.  “My rates vary from $65 to $120 per session, with additional expenses for house call appointments.”

Kathy Menard

Kathy Menard has been a practicing massage therapist and owner of her massage business for 26 years. Originally, she studied at Life College to be a chiropractic assistant. Menard then went to Kennesaw College, now Kennesaw State University, for pre-chiropractic courses, before deciding to become a massage therapist through the American School of Massage Therapy.


Kathy Menard 

(photo by Briana Walter)

Although Menard currently works from her home office in Canton, she has worked in a variety of settings, including chiropractic offices, medical offices, and day spas.

Menard said she believes that almost anyone can benefit from massage therapy, with most people benefiting from stress relief, pain reduction, and generalized relaxation.

“Massage therapy is important and beneficial for overall health because it increases blood circulation to specific areas of the body at a level that cannot be obtained through exercise, stretching, or any other means,” Menard says.

Menard also specializes in pregnancy massage therapy.

“It is very important to see a qualified pregnancy massage therapist, but the health benefits are tremendous for both the mother and the baby during this delicate time,” Menard says.

The main purpose of massage therapy is to return the body to its ideal healthy state.

Menard suggests a monthly massage for stress reduction as well as day-to-day pains; however, if you are experiencing pain and other symptoms, she advises a weekly massage session until the symptoms subside.


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