One of the questions I get asked regularly by patients is what remedial massage actually is, followed by how it is different from another type of massage. Even patients who have had remedial massages before are still unsure about it all. And it becomes even more blurry when you have had remedial massage treatments from different therapists and every one of them may have been different, maybe even with the same therapist.
The following is my contribution to shed some light on the matter.
One Goal, Many Modalities
Manual lymphatic drainage
Heat and cold therapy
And many more
These are all techniques in their own right and are used in remedial massage. So which one will you get when you book in a remedial massage treatment? Will the practitioner select the one she is most comfortable with? Although different practitioners have different preferences and experiences, there is a certain method to the madness, which brings us a step closer to what remedial massage is.
Deciding Treatment Factors
The condition you present with and anything you can tell about it (e.g. where the pain is)
Your medical history
Physical examination results, e.g. range of motion or specific tests for certain conditions
The therapist’s own assessment upon palpation of the affected areas
Information from other health practitioners, e.g. a chiropractor or physiotherapist
Any other factors that may have an effect, e.g. sleep patterns or posture
It is the intention and clinical reasoning that sets remedial massage apart.
Remedial vs Relaxation Massage
|Relaxation Massage||Remedial Massage|
|Area||General application||More to very specific|
|Depth||More superficial||More deeper work|
|Techniques||Relaxing massage techniques||Numerous and diverse techniques|
|Lubricants||Generally uses oil||Less oil, plus creams, lotions and gels|
|Positions||Usually lying down or facing up||Multiple positions depending on treatment|
|Goal||Usually stress relief, general health and wellbeing||Relief of pain, tightness or a specific condition|
|Relaxation Factor||Relaxation throughout and after the massage, you may even fall asleep||Usually not very relaxing during the massage, but all the more relief afterwards; highly unlikely to fall asleep|