Medical Massage

Our Medical Massage Service:

Bellingham Massage Clinic’s medical massage service includes:

  • detailed intake
  • medical massage
  • injury-specific charting
  • goal tracking for limited/impacted daily activities
  • billing the respective PIP (car insurance) or L&I claim
  • any other communication necessary with your medically necessary injury recovery team


Each visit is billed directly to the insurance company. Should the claim ever be denied, clients are fully responsible for costs incurred during care.


What Is Medical Massage?

Medical massage is a broad term used to cover any medically necessary massage treatment. As the list above alludes to, our medical massage service is tailored to a specific injury or injuries related to either a motor vehicle incident or injury that occurred on the job. On the first visit we set and begin tracking goals which we will revisit each appointment as we work within the guidelines set by your doctor’s referral. While doing so we monitor your pain, tension, loss/limited range of motion, and other discomforts and limitations. We also handle the billing in-house on your behalf.

The modalities used are a blend of many types of massage—deep tissue, Swedish, injury treatments such as cross-fiber fiction, and more—tailored to your specific injury and your needs as a client. Each treatment may differ slightly or significantly depending on what is needed to properly address the injured area(s) on the day of treatment. Client tolerance is ALWAYS considered. While a medical massage might not be as relaxing as a Swedish or deep tissue massage, it should not be a miserable experience.


What to Expect on Your Visits

Your first visit is usually the longest. Please allow for at no less than 90 minutes when scheduling it into your day. You will have two forms to fill out: a general health history and an injury-specific form.

In addition, at the beginning of each visit we’ll go through a detailed check-in with you on changes experienced since the last treatment, including the aforementioned limitations and discomforts. These subsequent visits can vary slightly in length, but we strive to give you 60 minutes on the table as time permits.


Note: Our office does not does not bill major medical health plans. We are happy to prepare a bill for you to take home and self-submit to your insurance company should they accept such submissions. We will prepare it for you as soon as possible, though please allow up to a week for it’s correct preparation. 


Injury Treatment Massage—Another Term for a Medical Massage

Injury treatment massage is for injuries arising from overuse, a traumatic event, surgery, etc. Again, each massage is tailored to treat the specific injury using different modalities (see above medical massage details for a short list). The areas treated are focused on and around the specific injury. The purpose is to help the body heal said injury and treat compensating structures.

Here is a brief list of the conditions that benefit from injury treatment massage:

  • Whiplash
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Migraines
  • Strained muscles
  • Sprained ligaments
  • Pre- and post-surgery
  • Rotator Cuff injuries
  • Non-specific post injury pain

All injuries need proper blood flow to bring oxygen and nutrients to the injured tissue so that the body may begin to heal itself. The purpose of injury treatment massage is to help the body facilitate this process by increasing circulation, and thus improve the delivery of healthy nutrients to the injury site. In addition to increasing circulation, massage may also help decrease inflammation, loosen stuck muscles, relieve pain, and relax supporting/compensating muscles/structures.

How Soon Can I Get a Massage Post-Injury?

Each instance in different. Getting a massage soon after an injury can be perfectly safe. It may depend on personal preference. Some people prefer to wait a week or more simply because they are too uncomfortable to move around or to let a massage therapist work anywhere near the injured site. Others will happily hobble in same day for a massage even if treatment is limited due to said discomfort. Please ask your doctor before treatment if you have any concerns at all.

Are All Injury Treatment Massages the Same?

The simple answer is no. This is because each injury and each person in different. What one injury requires in treatment might be completely different from another injury—even on the same person!

Are Injury Massages Painful?

It should be noted that often as the body heals, you may experience soreness, pain and inflammation. It takes time for the body to heal properly—even with the aid of massage—and to re-learn where muscles and connective tissue should be once better recovered. It is  not uncommon for the recovery process to include time when soreness is increased even as things are improving.

Of note, to expect full results on the first massage is unreasonable. Depending on the ailment, it can take weeks, months, or in some cases, even years for a body to recover to its best ability. Recovering from an injury or long-term problem takes effort on the massage table and at home. Yes, that’s correct, doing work to prevent further injuries and address current ones should be expected. Recovery is a team sport.