Remedial massage is the scientific manipulation of soft tissue, and comprises of a variety of techniques used to release muscle tension and restore balance to the musculoskeletal system in order to off-set the likelihood of injury, relieve pain, increase movement and mobility, and to improve overall physical and mental wellbeing.
One of the more frustrating elements of massage, for both client and practitioner, is the lack of understanding as to what constitutes a ‘remedial’ massage. Even people well versed in massage are often wrong in what they believe remedial massage therapy to be. Recently I had a close friend exclaim that she needed a good remedial massage, “you know, the whole thing, not just one area” – which in turn prompted me to ask exactly what she thought a remedial massage was. Too many times a client books in, believing that they want or need a remedial massage, and are left dissatisfied when their therapist spends an hour working on the shoulders they said were killing them. Chances are that what many people perceive to be a remedial massage is actually a therapeutic massage, or even simply a relaxation massage. So, if we’re all getting it wrong, what is remedial massage?
According to what Medibank Private define as the basis of a claimable remedial massage; Remedial massage is the “systematic assessment and treatment of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissues of the body to assist in rehabilitation, pain and injury management. It’s performed to create favourable conditions for the body to return to normal health after injury and is defined by the premise that the treatment can reasonably reverse certain physical effects a patient may be presenting. If a patient has suffered a moderate injury resulting in structural pain and/or loss of function, then remediation is required to reduce or eliminate pain and restore that function. Remedial massage is designed to balance muscle/soft tissue length, tension, tone which will in turn promote the return to normal joint/capsular/bone position; increase the flow of blood and lymph, particularly in the injured areas, thus removing blockages, damaged cells, scar tissue and adhesions resulting from injury.
A remedial therapist must have knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology to determine where to treat patients. Their services must be based on best practice principles and before any remedial massage treatment begins, a thorough patient consultation and assessment is to be performed to ascertain the patient’s current health status. If the patient is suitable for remedial massage and relying on the patient’s feedback to identify the areas that require attention, the therapist can then apply the relevant and appropriate treatment.”
So in practical terms, what does this mean? Well, basically it means that Remedial Massage is defined as a treatment for injuries and/or conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system. When you go for a remedial massage treatment you will be required to fill out a health history form and your condition will be assessed through consultation and a range of orthopaedic assessments to determine if massage is an appropriate condition. Your therapist will then create a treatment program to address your condition, and work towards rehabilitation of that area. So, as an example, if you come in with aching shoulders and a sore neck, your therapist is going to address the cause and effect of these symptoms, and treat the areas accordingly. Chances of them giving you a lovely full body massage are fairly low.
“But Deb!” I hear you cry, “I need a full body massage! I’m sore all over, and I don’t need a wussy relaxation massage, I’m in pain!”
I hear you – and if this is the case, then perhaps you should elect to get one of The Brisbane Massage Company’s Therapeutic massages. The Therapeutic massage is a bit of a house specialty, and walks the line between relaxation and remedial massage. Like relaxation, there is a flow that addresses the full body, and like remedial it incorporates more deep tissue, trigger point therapy and stretching as required to address pain caused by stress, long hours sitting at a computer, or muscles soreness (as opposed to dysfunction) caused by exercise.
Obviously massage styles vary, and it can be confusing deciding what type of massage is best for you, but we can help! If you are interested in finding out if Remedial or Therapeutic massage is right for you, call our Everton Park clinic and we can create a treatment plan just for you.