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 practising 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.
Massage therapy isn’t just for relaxation, as we now have the development of medical massage. Because of its miraculous ability to reduce pain and heal injuries, massage therapy is now being used in the medical field. Medical massage is designed to address the discomforts of a client.The purpose of the massage is to deal with any dysfunctional areas or problems in the soft-tissues of the body. It differs from therapeutic massage as it does not focus on relieving tension or stress from the body. It is usually used for patients who are recovering from injuries or surgical procedures. The doctor will inform the client if he or she could benefit from massage therapy as it is often used to help speed healing and recovery. After an injury has occurred the patient usually avoids using those muscles of the body until the injury has healed. During this time, with no use or movement of the affected area, these muscle groups become very stiff and out of shape. Medical massage therapy is used to slowly rehabilitate the unused muscles. It helps to promote healthy movement and functioning of the newly healed area of the body while also preventing further injuries from occurring.
During a session, the massage therapist will manually manipulate the soft tissues of the body using various hand techniques, soft tissue massage, active and passive stretching, range of motion techniques, and possibly the use of other therapeutic modalities in support such as hot or cold therapy. Medical massage is used to improve the general well being of the client. Each session typically lasts between 45 to 60 minutes.
Medical massage is not a treatment available to anyone. It is specifically designed for those individuals recovering from injury or surgery and need muscle rehabilitation. The massage should be carried out following the advice of a doctor to prevent any further injury to the healing area. Its goal is to use a series of manual therapy treatments to correct the affected areas of the muscle-skeletal system while reducing pain at the same time.
Some of the various techniques that may be used in combination with the Medical Massage are: lymphatic drainage, connective tissue massage, neuromuscular therapy, neuro-fascial massage, osteopathic manual therapies, oriental medicinal techniques, stretching and positional release techniques, reflex techniques, and trigger point therapies. The exact combination of therapies will depend on the specific client and their individual needs. The medical therapist would first do an assessment of the client and determine their specific needs and problem areas that need to be treated. Often, the patient will also be given a series of self-massage techniques that they can do on their own at home. Medical massage and home exercises will further enhance their recovery to good health and fitness.