There are many types of massage, but probably the main two that people decide between when booking is: relaxing or remedial.
A relaxing massage is just that; a massage designed to soften the muscles and relax the body. It is a great massage to have at the end of a long day, when you want to unwind and get the tension out of your muscles. A relaxation massage is also good if you have a new ache or pain, such as a stiff neck from sleeping in a bad position or a sore back from some recent heavy lifting.
A remedial massage is better viewed as a ‘treatment’, and is used on an ongoing basis. When you visit a remedial massage therapist, they will take down your history, discuss what the issue is and what’s been troubling you, do an assessment which will include your range of motion and functional muscle testing, and then they will put a plan into place.
The treatment might include different massage techniques such as deep tissue, Swedish, sports, trigger point therapy or even some stretching. A proper treatment plan will need to be in place over several visits, as it is unlikely an existing problem can be fixed quickly in just one session.
According to Medibank, the definition of a remedial massage is:
The systematic assessment and treatment of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissues of the body to assist in rehabilitation, pain and injury management.
Contrary to popular belief, a remedial massage is not simply a deep tissue, or firm, massage offered by Joe Blog’s massage clinic down the road. A remedial therapist will need to have knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology and be equipped to be able to come up with a suitable treatment plan for their client. The therapist will also maintain a file on each client, with comprehensive notes outlining the treatment plans and any progress. This means your ongoing treatment will be highly effective no matter which therapist you see in a given clinic. Or if you decide to change clinics you can have your notes sent to the new location to ensure your treatment continues where it was left off, and it is a seamless transition.
The in-depth and longer term approach of remedial massage means it is suited to prolonged issues that are more chronic in nature. Here are some examples of ailments that can be helped by remedial massage – please note there are plenty of other complaints not listed that can benefit from remedial massage so make sure you talk to your therapist about your particular condition:
The above are very specific conditions, and involve an injury or sore spot, but did you know that remedial massage can help in other ways too? Such as:
A massage doesn’t only reduce physical stress by relaxing the muscles, but it helps on an emotional level as well. Massage evokes a greater feeling of calm and relaxation. The soothing strokes help to release endorphins, which are the chemicals that give us that ‘loved-up’ feel good factor.
Just like with meditation, when a person is given a chance to relax and switch off for a while, they end up feeling more mentally alert. Hitting ‘off’ on the busy switch for a while leaves room for clarity and focus.
When you have severe tension in the neck or the back, it can cause you to slouch or stand incorrectly in order to relieve pain associated with it. Massage will relieve these tensions so you can stand tall again without pain, and it will also help to lengthen the muscles and balance the body.
Stress hormones have been linked to a lowered immune system. When you decrease these hormones through massage, your body will be able to combat sickness more efficiently. It also encourages your immune system to become more powerful by way of improving lymphatic drainage and increasing circulation.
Remedial massage will use a variety of massage techniques, like the ones mentioned above, to treat an ongoing problem. Through massage, blood will be stimulated to flow to the problem area, which should aid in healing.
Massage can also soothe the peripheral nervous system, which in turns lessens the pain or discomfort that you are feeling from the injury or damaged area. Remedial massage also improves joint mobility by reducing stiffness and tension.
Add to all of this, massage is beneficial as it improves the circulation of oxygen in your system, it lowers stress hormones and increases serotonin and dopamine levels. As you can see, there are a multitude of benefits to remedial massage, and your treatment can be personalised to handle your complaint in the most meaningful way