Medical Massage

What Is Medical Massage?

Medical massage is a broad term used to cover any medically necessary massage treatment. While it can be similar to injury treatment massage it isn’t limited to recovering sprains/strains, dislocations, or the like. Medical massage includes treating other conditions as well – many of them unseen such as depression, fibromyalgia, anxiety disorders, MS, arthritis, etc. Like injury treatment, medical massage employs a range of modalities including Swedish, deep tissue, hydrotherapy and more – though everything depends on client tolerance.

While much of the information provided here focuses on chronic conditions, please remember that medical massage treatment does not exclude treatment of other problems/ailments. Intraoral massage and injury treatment can both be listed under medical massage. Depending on the application, cupping therapy can fall under this category as well.

Here is a brief but not conclusive list of the conditions that can be improved with medical massage:

    • Depression
    • Fibromyalgia
    • MS
    • Arthritis
    • Anxiety Disorders
    • PTSD
    • Chronic Pain
    • Diabetes
    • Chronic Stress
    • Pre and Post Surgery

When dealing with conditions such as those listed above we will be working with your physiology as well as affecting your psychology through your nervous system. Certainly our standard massage services also provide this benefit. However, it is especially important to consider when dealing with medical massage for chronic illnesses/conditions.
I listen closely, take into account what your doctor says and proceed to create a medical massage treatment just for you. If there is swelling we will work to decrease it. If there are other components to your illness or condition, such as feeling stressed or high strung, we will take those into account and adjust the treatment accordingly. Sometimes the most therapeutic approach for people with chronic conditions is to include the whole body and to work to decrease the level of stress as well as discomfort.

The pain reduction awarded by medical massage varies from person to person. It should go without saying that even a brief respite from chronic pain, such as the pain which is experienced by someone suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, will be beneficial. Mental relief alone is often enough of a benefit for a chronic pain sufferer to include medical massage in their regular self care.

The Science – For Mind and Body

Why is medical massage beneficial for someone with a chronic condition such as fibromyalgia? Perhaps you wonder if it isn’t pointless because the pain will come back. Certainly a medical massage isn’t going to cure it. However, that is not always the point. Because massage works on the autonomic nervous system it can help to reset a person’s level of stress. Dealing with perpetual pain stresses the mind and body. The nervous system can get stuck in a “fight or flight” response when forced to deal with chronic stressors. Massage can help the person switch back to “rest and digest” for a period of time.

When looking at bodywork from a chronic pain point of view, medical massage can help to temporarily decrease the pain. It does this through the nervous system. Pain travels on a different type of nerve receptor than other senses such as heat and touch sensations. By employing touch and sometimes heat we can temporarily override pain.

Medical Massage For Surgery

Aside from helping with chronic conditions, medical massage can help pre and post surgery. It can be helpful pre-surgery as it can keep the muscles and surrounding tissue mobile, increase circulation which is necessary for proper healing, and manage pain levels. Post surgery it can help decrease inflammation, ease discomfort on compensating structures, work on some post surgery restrictions, all while continuing to keep up good blood flow. When the surgery site is well healed, medical massage (thinking cupping) can help decrease adhesions, scar tissue, and help the client achieve good range of motion.