What determines a Remedial Massage Treatment?
You can go online and find thousands of Remedial Massage Therapists and numerous training colleges and associations related to remedial massage. Going back some 30 years you would have been hard-pressed to find a Remedial Massage Therapist. If you were after musculoskeletal therapy, your best option was to go see a physiotherapist.
Pre-1990s massage primarily focused on ‘relaxation’ and was offered mostly by beauty therapists and places such as day spas. As the benefits of massage for the treatment of (soft tissue) muscular conditions became accepted, massage education and the industry began focusing more on remediation.
It is now standard practice of the massage industry that massage therapists have at a minimum a Remedial Massage qualification. But as a consumer, how do you know what determines a Remedial Massage treatment?
So what is ‘Remedial Massage’? Remediation is defined as, ‘The act or process of remedying something that is undesirable or deficient’ and ‘the correction of something defective or deficient’. In massage this specifically refers to the treatment of muscle, tendons, ligaments and fascia that are dysfunctional in some manner: i.e. are injured and/or restricted in movement and/or function.
The process of receiving a Remedial massage involves the following:
• The initial Interview. This is where the patient will be asked to fill in a confidential Health Questionnaire together with signing a Consent Form. This ensures that the details provided are correct and that both the therapist and client are aware of the treatment offered.
• The Assessment. This involves a Postural Assessment; Range of Motion (ROM) tests and any specific tests to assess the degree of the dysfunction.
• Treatment. This involves a range of remedial techniques such as Myofascial Release, Cupping, Trigger Point Therapy, Deep Ischemic Pressure, Stretches and many others.
• Re-Assessment. This is where the initial ROM tests and /or special tests are revisited to ascertain any improvement of the dysfunction post massage.
• Home advice. This can include exercises and stretches, postural advice, use of equipment etc.
• Additional Appointments. As the condition presented is dysfunctional, it will either require additional treatments from the therapist or the therapist may refer the patient on to a higher qualified practitioner; i.e. Myotherapist, Physiotherapist, Osteopath etc.
The important thing to note is that even if the therapist holds a Remedial Massage qualification, unless they are performing and assessment, applying remedial techniques, re-assessing and offering therapeutic home advice, with follow-on treatments, it may be that you are simply receiving a ‘relaxation/therapeutic’ massage.