Medical massages: Treating chronic pain, stress, back aches, fibromyalgia, sciatica, leg cramps, neck tension, moreMedical Massage — By Steve Ibach on December 15, 2009 at 5:59 pm
Simply put, Medical Massage Therapy is the focused use of advanced massage techniques to treat a specific condition and achieve a specific outcome. In some cases the condition treated is first diagnosed by the patient’s physician. In other cases the medical massage therapist simply treats the patient based on the patient’s subjective description of his symptoms following a thorough assessment of the patient’s muscles, posture, etc.
Techniques used during a medical massage often include neuromuscular therapy, myofascial release, and lymphatic drainage massage among many others; however, they can also include more common techniques such as Swedish massage. The major difference between a medical massage and a regular massage is that it is performed by therapists with advanced training and the treatment is structured to obtain a specific outcome. Some of the conditions that can be successfully treated with medical massage include:
- Low Back Pain
- TMJ Pain
- Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome
- Tingling in Hands
- Neck Tension
- Reduced Range of Motion
- Postural Imbalances
- Recovery after Surgery
- Chronic Pain in any area
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Joint Aches
- Fibromyalgia Pain
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
- Immune System Enhancement
- Much More…
There is no separate license that recognizes “Medical Massage Therapist” over any other licensed or certified massage therapist at this time (although this may change in the future). Any massage therapist can legally perform any type of massage, including medical massage. Because of this lack of separate licensing and standards even the term Medical Massage is not universally used. Many highly qualified massage therapists use other titles or certifications to convey their medical specialty.
Despite these challenges, it is very helpful to seek out a Medical Massage Therapist if you require massage therapy to treat a specific symptom. Any therapist using this term or other medical terms such as neuromuscular therapy, myofascial therapy, orthopedic massage, advanced therapeutic massage, etc. to describe himself or his practice is clearly advertising that he focuses on medical massage. This will narrow down your search for the proper massage therapist for your needs from among the thousands of therapists who mainly focus on relaxation or general therapeutic massage techniques. You can think of the term Medical Massage Therapist as a specialty among massage therapy. It is similar to a family practice Medical Doctor advertising that she specializes in “medical care for women”. The MD is still just an MD like any other, however, knowing her focus is a great help to the patient when seeking a doctor.
If you know of anything else that is treated with medical type massage therapy or any other names that therapists focused on medical massage use please post them in the comments.
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