Massage Therapy, a recognized medical treatment in many parts of the world for thousands of years, is finally beginning to take its proper place as a medical treatment in the United States including Scottsdale, Arizona where my practice is located.
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 and 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 main 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. Examples of specific outcomes include; decreasing low back pain, increasing range of motion in the shoulder, eliminating tingling in the hands, reducing swelling, reducing leg cramps, etc.
There is still no specific licensing requirement anywhere in Scottsdale, or anywhere else in the United States that I am aware of, that specifically licenses or recognizes “Medical Massage Therapists” over any other duly licensed massage therapist. This means that the term “Medical Massage Therapist” is still more of a self imposed description of the therapist’s focus rather then an official designation or recognition by any authority. Any massage therapist with a proper license in his jurisdiction can usually legally perform any type of massage.
Despite this 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 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 tens of thousands of therapists that 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 they specialize 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.
Many of my clients first visit me because they are experiencing pain. The pain can be the result of a medically diagnosed condition such as tendonitis, a muscle strain, fibromyalgia, a herniated disc, etc. It can also be from general muscle tension, a previous car accident or injury, or can be from no known cause.
In many cases, medical massage therapy can eliminate the client’s pain permanently in only a few visits by releasing chronically hypertonic (tight) muscles, and bringing proper muscle balance back into your body. Muscles encompass about 60% of your total body mass and much of the pain we experience emanates from nerve endings in muscle tissue. When muscles are out of balance (meaning that one muscle is tight compared to an opposing muscle) your body can physically shift out or alignment (hip can rotate forward, shoulder can elevate, etc.) causing nerve compression and pain. By applying medically proven Neuromuscular massage techniques, among others, we can alleviate muscle tension, helping to correct your posture, and eliminating unnatural pressure on your nerve pathways. This process can often be accomplished in only a few visits and improvement is usually seen by the client after only a single visit.
For more information on medical massage, along with some client testimonials of how medical massage has helped them, I suggest visiting the Hawaiian Experience Spa Medical Massage Page.
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
- Joint Aches
- Fibromyalgia Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Much more..