What is a therapeutic massage?
The goal of a therapeutic massage is to decrease tension & the discomfort or pain that is experienced because of tension in the body.
Therapeutic massage is a general term that describes any type of massage modality that helps relieve pain, or works on a specific alignment such as neck pain, shoulder pain or lower back pain, etc. Some believe that therapeutic massage means deep tissue massage, however, this is not always the case.
There are many different types of therapeutic massage techniques, including Swedish massage, myofascial release, neuromuscular massage, deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, heat, stretching and homecare. All these modalities are used as needed depending on an individual's needs.
What you can expect during a therapeutic massage:
A therapeutic massage appointment includes an interview with your massage therapist to understand where you feel discomfort, testing such as range-of-motion, and possibly other assessment to understand what type of massage is needed and to document changes before and after the appointment and between visits.
Normally a therapeutic massage will start off with medium pressure and adjustments will vary from there depending on what works for the patient and their body.
Lighter pressure can be effective in a therapeutic massage.
It is important for the person receiving the message to communicate their level of comfort or discomfort during the massage.
In addition to where the person describes their pain or tension points, palpation skills are used to feel where muscles are tight and Laura focuses the treatment to these areas. Laura’s education covered treatment and assessment of compensating and primary areas; at times where we feel pain is not the cause of the pain. One area may be tight but pain is experienced in another area.
As an example, often people with low back ache have tension in the back muscles but they also have tension in the glute muscles. Generally, the glute tension started first and the low back had to compensate for the lack of movement in the hips and now the back aches. This would mean treatment of the glutes as well as the lower back.
Your massage therapist will often give home care as part of a therapeutic massage session. This may include stretching, strengthening or use of heat to a particular area. Each patient’s recommendations are specific to their goals. Regular homecare will help your body in between massage therapy sessions and long term.
Home care is Self-care.
Therapeutic Massage for Maintenance of Good Health
Preventative or maintenance massage treatments can be considered a therapeutic massage. These are sessions that are booked at a regular interval to keep pain or tension at bay.
This is ideal for individuals who find themselves in pain every few weeks or months, those that do repetitive movements in their work or sports, and those that sit or stand for long periods of time. The length of time between treatments is something that can be discussed with your massage therapist.