If you’ve ever had a massage, you’ll understand how therapeutic it can be for both your body and mind, but what about a medical massage? People often think spa massages and medical massages are basically the same. But there are three important differences between them.
Differences Between a Medical Massage vs. Spa Massage
- A medical massage is outcome based. While you still reap benefits like stress relief and relaxation, a medical massage focuses on a specific medical need. Often, a family doctor will recommend a medical massage to manage pain, improve circulation, help with digestion, reduce inflammation, or increase flexibility. It can also be used to treat other health issues.
- Different techniques target your specific medical needs. A spa massage and a medical massage may feel similar, but the techniques used are not the same. A spa massage will use techniques focused on relaxation and will often focus on the areas a client has chosen. For instance, a client may only want a head massage or a back massage with the purpose of enjoyment, relaxation, and stress relief. A medical massage therapist will use a broader set of techniques that focus on your body’s soft tissue for improved muscle health, targeted relief, and recovery. A medical massage therapist will typically focus on a centralized part of the body identified as an area of concern for treatment.
- A medical massage requires follow-up recommendations. Since the treatment is outcome based, a medical massage therapist will provide the patient with a targeted plan for treatment. Often, the process involves a series of timed visits instead of being determined only by when you feel like you need relief.
Another complaint—in fact, one of the most common complaints in the US—that medical massage therapy can help is lower back pain. Several years ago, the American College of Physicians updated its guidelines for treating lower back pain. One of their recommendations included the use of non-pharmaceutical options, like medical massage, for treating pain. It has proven to be a highly effective treatment for pain relief with the added benefit that it helps patients avoid opioid treatment.
Our Medical Massage Process
At Spring Mountain Medical, our medical professionals work hand in hand with licensed massage therapists to build a plan to help our patients start living pain-free. The techniques we use will depend on the patient’s condition, but some of our most common approaches include:
- Trigger point therapy
- Myofascial release
- Neuromuscular therapy
We will work hand in hand with your family doctor to not only ease the symptoms you are experiencing but treat the underlying cause of the problem with the best medical massage technique suited to your condition.
Your family doctor or homeopath may recommend a medical massage for either chronic or acute medical conditions. Some examples include repetitive stress injuries, which can occur from sitting or standing postures held over a long period of time; headaches, including cluster headaches, sinus headaches, and tension headaches; and more, like:
- Radiating pain
- Strains and sprains
- Post-surgical scar tissue
- Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJ)
- Frozen shoulder