is the original term for therapeutic massage
. It was developed as an independent branch of manual medicine in Sweden
in the early 20th century. It quickly became popular in the U.S. and many chiropractic
colleges in the U.S. in the first half of the 20th century also offered separate degree programs in mechanotherapy. Mechanotherapists received a Doctor of Mechanotherapy (DM) degree and were licensed to practice in many states and practiced in many more states without a license.
Today mechanotherapy is experiencing a revival in the U.S. Although there are not any mechanotherapy professional schools in the U.S., massage therapists can obtain a Doctor of Mechanotherapy (DM) degree from any one of a number of independently accredited, online, distance learning universities based on their life or professional experience as massage therapists.
A DM degree is a graduate professional degree that indicates proficency in mechano or massage therapy. Mechanotherapists do not claim to be physicians or to diagnose or treat disease. Their scope of practice is limited:
Scope of practice
A practitioner of mechanotherapy shall examine patients only by verbal inquiry, examination of the musculoskeletal system by hand, and visual inspection and observation. A practitioner of mechanotherapy shall specifically not employ any techniques which involve extraction or analysis of body tissue or fluids. A practitioner of mechanotherapy shall not diagnose a patient’s condition except as to whether or not there is a disorder of the musculoskeletal system present. A practitioner of mechanotherapy, in the treatment of patients, may apply only those techniques listed below, but he may apply such techniques only to those disorders of the musculoskeletal system which are amenable to treatment by the listed techniques and which are identifiable by examination and diagnosis as described in this rule:
(1) advised or supervised exercise;
(2) massage or manipulation; or
(3) employment of air, water, heat, cold, sound or infrared rays.
LEGAL STATUS of MECHANOTHERAPY
Although mechanotherapy is no longer regulated in most states, Doctors of Mechanotherapy are legally able to practice in nearly all U.S. states including California.