What is Medical Massage Therapy?
With so many people turning to holistic healing, helpful alternatives can go unnoticed. One of them is medical massage. But what is medical massage therapy and how do you become certified in it? Whether you’re looking for treatment, or want to add another dimension to your massage practice, here’s what you need to know.
Medical Massage Therapy
Unlike traditional massage, medical massage focuses on a particular medical diagnosis as part of the physician’s treatment plan and can be recommended for a variety of maladies, including carpal tunnel syndrome and migraines. It isn’t a particular style of massage in itself, but it applies the various massage techniques already in practice to achieve several client-specific medical goals.
Patients can undergo medical massage as a part of a larger physical therapy regimen for numerous chronic problems. From an employee who suffers from back or neck pain while sitting down, to an athlete who pulled a muscle while playing a sport, the practice uses general massage methods to cure localized problems. Training within the field can include trigger point therapy, as well as stretching.
Medical Massage Therapists
As a massage therapist, I find it very rewarding to work with patients, alleviating pain from conditions previously treated by a physician.
My goal is to evaluate and assess each patient’s condition to see what type of bodywork will be most beneficial in improving their quality of life and decreasing their pain. Patients may be unaware of what a medical massage therapist practicing in a hospital setting can do for them, as opposed to traditional massage in a spa setting.
Informing doctors and their staff about all the possible conditions that are treatable with massage can be challenging. Some physicians believe massage is a feel-good practice or a luxury. Some other people, including patients, believe there is no correlation between medical treatments and massage.
Additionally, I have witnessed many health care professionals, including physicians, who are aware of medical massage, and choose to refer their patients to physical therapists, because insurance typically covers physical therapy, and they don’t want to burden patients with an out-of-pocket expense.
However, for some patients, massage is a necessity—and as massage therapy’s use in hospitals continues to grow, the benefits of massage are becoming better known to physicians and other hospital staff.