Choosing a certified medical massage therapist is an important step to improving your overall health.

If you’ve experienced an injury, have chronic pain, or are recovering from an illness for which your doctor prescribes massage therapy, don’t just go to any run-of-the-mill spa or massage therapist. You’ll want to look for some specific qualifications.

Understanding Specific Medical Concerns

Whether your physician prescribed massage or you have made the decision to use it as a method to treat your symptoms, be sure that you understand the basic physiology and underlying causes. Then, be sure to interview potential therapists and assess their understanding of your particular needs. A certified massage therapist typically provides a free consultation prior to beginning treatment. This is the only way they can be sure that their treatment plan focuses on the root cause of your symptoms.

Typically, a medical massage therapist will have, and be able to demonstrate, an advanced understanding of anatomy, bone structure, and physiology. Their understanding of musculoskeletal and medical terminology enables them to develop a treatment plan that is based on your doctor’s diagnosis or your underlying medical condition. They understand a doctor’s orthopedic assessment and recommended treatment protocols, and are trained to identify contraindications and pathologies.

Setting Expectations for Medical Massage

Unlike traditional therapeutic massage, where goals are often simply to relax tense muscles or release tension, medical massage treatment often focuses on more specific results, such as rehabilitative stretching and neuromuscular therapy designed to heal and prevent future harm or injury. Your medical massage therapy plan may focus specifically on relieving ischemia or alleviating nerve compression. It may also help improve digestive motility, decrease inflammation, and deactivate trigger points, which may be responsible for chronic pain.

Be sure that you have a plan that outlines the specific results you want to achieve. While, with any medical service, there is never a 100 percent guarantee of success, a plan will help you and your therapist remain focused on your goals, especially if you encounter unexpected hurdles along the way. The road to recovery sometimes takes an unexpected turn. Understanding this, in relationship to your health plan, will help you maintain confidence in your treatment and your massage therapist.

Differences Between Massage Approaches

While traditional therapeutic massage should not be underrated as a very effective method for improving overall health and well-being, it is important to make a wise choice between wellness-based or medical-based massage therapy when embarking on a journey toward improved health. Here are some basic differences between the two to help you make an informed decision.

Medical Massage works from a scientific paradigm and focuses on solving specific problems. Traditional wellness massage therapy is more focused on intuitive healing and providing nurturing.

  • Periods of care for both types of massage can be ongoing or based on desired results. When a medical massage patient has received the maximum expected improvement, treatment usually comes to an end. When to end wellness-based massage therapy is a bit more subjective.
  • Wellness massage focuses on a few primary treatment techniques, including craniosacral, circulatory, Swedish, and deep tissue massage. The techniques used by medical massage therapists include myofascial, cross-fiber friction, neuromuscular, and numerous other techniques.
  • Documentation of medical massage therapy is typically more extensive than with wellness therapy, providing a record of treatment and results that a patient can reference when visiting their doctor or other medical practitioners.

Give us a call here at Skin MB Medical Day Spa to schedule your free medical massage consultation with a certified therapist.