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Differences Between Yoga and Physiotherapy

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3 min read


Yoga and physiotherapy are the same, but there are differences in the benefits a person attains. Read the article below to understand more.

Written by

Dr. Dheeksha. R

Medically reviewed by

Shakti Mishra

Published At May 23, 2023
Reviewed AtNovember 24, 2023


Yoga is a body-mind practice that helps to align the body, mind, and spirit. It not only acts on specific muscles instead but also on the whole body. In the case of physiotherapy, it only acts on targeted muscles. Physiotherapy can provide evidence-based exercise which helps to deal with pain and regain balance. Youngsters, sports people, actors, and people concerned about the physic mostly prefer the gym as they believe it provides quick results. Older citizens, women, and people who are specifically concerned about their mental health, prefer yoga.

What Do Yoga and Physiotherapy Mean?

Yoga is an ancient physical practice that deals with chronic pain, disease, digestion, circulation, core strength, stress, and more. Yoga acts on physical and mental health. Physical health is attained through yoga postures, whereas mental health is attained through meditation.

Physiotherapy is a physical rehabilitation facility performed by a physical therapist or physiotherapist. Mechanical forces and movements improve the targeted muscle mobility, function, and quality. Physiotherapy acts on the targeted muscles rather than the whole body.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

The physical therapist works on optimizing the body’s function. They focus on evaluating and treating pain and movement disorders. Physiotherapy includes neuromuscular rehabilitation, therapeutic exercise, gait training, and other modalities such as laser and electrical stimulation. It works on targeted muscles, so the physical therapist finds the muscle to be treated and the cause of pain or dysfunction and treats the specific muscle. In addition, physical therapists may recommend people to practice yoga.

What Does a Yoga Therapist Do?

They are lifestyle management experts focusing on the therapeutic application of yoga, such as breathing, philosophy, asanas, meditation, and mantra chanting. The target of a yoga therapist is to treat the overall health. Yoga acts on the whole body and aligns the body, mind, and spirit. Yoga therapists treat people with a holistic approach: physically, emotionally, energetically, intellectually, and spiritually.

Which Is Better for Treating Lower Back and Neck Pain?

Yoga is a form of physical activity that helps deal with chronic pain or diseases. Yoga is a less impact physical exercise that acts on the whole body and can be performed by everyone. Regular yoga practice helps to increase flexibility and improve the strength of muscles. Yoga is better than physiotherapy for lower back pain and neck pain, as yoga acts better on chronic pain and diseases.

Which Is Better for Treating a Herniated Disc?

Aging decreases the cushioning discs between the spinal cord, leading to a herniated disc formation. The jelly-like inner core present in the vertebral disc of the spine allows the spine to move quickly and makes it flexible. In the case of a herniated disc, this jelly-like fluid gets dried up, causing pain. People with herniated disc pain usually approach physiotherapy instead of yoga, as they think yoga practice may worsen the condition. However, specific yoga postures can help with herniated disc pain under the guidance of a trainer. Before starting, make sure the muscles are relaxed. Yoga is chosen over physiotherapy in herniated disc treatment, as yoga is a holistic and trusted approach that can cure the condition entirely and has a long-lasting impact.

How Do Yoga and Physiotherapy Help in Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, yoga asanas and physiotherapy help improve both the mother's and the child’s health. For example, regular yoga practice by a pregnant woman prevents premature birth or a low-weight baby. The benefits are

  • Increased flexibility and muscle strength.

  • Improved mental health, and lower back pain.

  • Enhanced stamina and strength.

  • Help connects with the baby in the womb.

  • Enhanced chance of natural birth.

  • Reduced pain during birth.

  • Strengthened pelvic floor.

How Does Yoga Support Physical Therapy?

Many physical therapists advise people to take up yoga and physiotherapy, as yoga plays a huge role in maintaining the balance of both physical and mental health. Yoga effectively reduces pain and helps to enhance the healing process; it also helps to deal with mental stress and provides motivation and emotional support. Depending on the issue, people may choose both yoga and physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy helps yoga know the proper diagnosis, effective physical exercise, and guidance for the patient. The yoga therapist, in turn, adapts the physio work or provides entirely different physical activity so that it does not affect the physio treatment. Yoga therapy helps by optimizing a person's body, mind, and lifestyle and enhancing a physiotherapist's work condition. After the physiotherapy treatment, if a person experiences any pain or discomfort, they are referred to a yoga therapist, where yoga helps continue the healing process.

What Are the Benefits of Employing Yoga With Physiotherapy?

Yoga and physiotherapy are good practices that can benefit each other.

  • Enhance Blood Circulation: Yoga helps to increase blood circulation, and people with arthritis can use the benefits of yoga in physio sessions.

  • Relief of Chronic Pain and Disease: Yoga helps to deal with chronic pain and disease through body toning and muscle strengthening.

  • Enhance Balance in the Body: Yoga helps to enhance the balance of the body along with physiotherapy.

Who Are the People Who Can Benefit From Physiotherapy Yoga?

All people, irrespective of age, can perform physiotherapy yoga. A vast population benefits from physiotherapy yoga:

  1. Older adults.

  2. Those people who need to enhance muscle strength.

  3. Individuals who need to improve the mobility of various joints.

  4. People recovering from specific orthopedic procedures.

  5. Sports people.

  6. Prenatal women.


Yoga is a form of physical activity that aligns the body, mind, and spirituality. Yoga acts as an additional aid in physiotherapy treatment. Physiotherapy acts on the targeted muscles, whereas yoga acts on the whole body and enhances the strength and flexibility of the muscles. Yoga is a holistic approach to any form of pain or disease. Compared to physiotherapy, many prefer yoga, as the impact lasts longer. In case of persistent pain, even after physiotherapy sessions, the person is recommended to do yoga sessions by the physiotherapist.

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Shakti Mishra
Shakti Mishra



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