How does remedial massage work?

A remedial massage is definitely not your standard relaxation treatment. It’s main purpose is to help with recovery, but there are many types that also do this. Discover if a remedial massage is what you need…

How a remedial massage works, according to Medibank

“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,” says Medibank.

“Remedial massage is designed to balance muscle/soft tissue length, tension, tone which will in turn promote the return to normal joint/capsular/bone position; increase the flow of blood and lymph, particularly in the injured areas, thus removing blockages, damaged cells, scar tissue and adhesions resulting from injury.”

Still confused? We were too. Essentially, all this means is someone who is qualified to perform a remedial massage (also known as a medical massage) will be able to assess how their techniques may assist in injury recovery or overall wellbeing.

If you’re still a little lost in what type of massage you want or need, keep on reading.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash.

What are the benefits of remedial massage? 

5 Things Remedial Massage is Said to Help With

1. Stress, mental alertness and sleep quality.

When we’re stressed, we use more energy and tend to tense up our muscles. As a result, our bodies can ache, we become sluggish and often times, we can’t sleep. Being tired and our muscles being tight leads to more stress, and it becomes a vicious cycle.

A remedial massage helps to promote accelerated blood flow to our muscles, which helps in their recovery. Once the initial tenderness passes after your treatment, the relief from not holding that tension will help you manage your stress better, be more mentally alert and, hopefully, sleep better too.

2. Muscle pain, tension and soft-tissue injuries.

New and existing injuries are complicated, and as a result, your doctor may refer you to a physiotherapist to help with a recovery plan. As part of this plan, the physiotherapist may recommend remedial massage to help lengthen and stretch the muscle, increase circulation and ease tension in the affected area.

Remedial massage may also be included for on-going treatment for those with acute or chronic conditions, such as arthritis or sciatica. These types of conditions, as well as injuries, can lead to over or underuse of certain muscles or joints, which may be helped by someone qualified to give a remedial massage.

3. Lymphatic fluid movement.

Lymphatic drainage is a common added treatment during a remedial massage. Our lymphatic system plays an important role in our fluid balance, immune system and the absorption of fats and fat-soluble nutrients. It does this through roughly 600 lymph nodes in our body and a vast network of vessels.

When these nodes are infected it can lead to various health issues. Remedial massage is said to aid helping keep the flow of lymph in good order to help prevent build up.

4. Issues related to nerve compression.

A pinched, trapped or compressed nerve can be recognised by feeling numbness, pins and needles, muscle weakness or a sharp, aching pain. This happens when the tissue surrounding the nerve is putting on too much pressure, affecting the nerve’s functions.

While it is said that remedial massage can help a compressed nerve, you should always see your doctor first.

5. Flexibility and mobility.

As we age, our muscles lose elasticity, which restricts our mobility and flexibility. This is when we tend to start feeling stiff, as a result, avoiding certain movements, which in turn, puts stress on other areas of our body.

Regular remedial massages are suggested to help release pain from some of these areas and help keep our muscles in good health. With other healthy habits, this can contribute to an improvement in flexibility and mobility over time.

What other types of massage are there?

Top 9 Types of Massage in Australia

1. Swedish massage.

During a Swedish or classic massage, your therapist will use a combination of five different techniques, known as strokes. You’ll experience sliding, kneading, rhythmic tapping, friction and a shaking or vibration of the muscles to help relieve aches and pains.

A Swedish massage is typically a full-body massage, however, your therapist should provide a full assessment to customise their treatment to you.

2. Aromatherapy massage.

An aromatherapy massage is a Swedish massage where a lotion is used in combination with a highly concentrated essential oil, such as lavender. The purpose of this is so you inhale the smell from the essential oils as well as absorb them into your skin.

Essential oils are thought to have many healing properties, such as relieving stress or anxiety. Even if you’re not a believer of this, they do smell quite good too, depending on your preferences.

3. Deep tissue massage.

While a remedial massage works a specific area, a deep tissue massage is generally an all-over intense massage. A deep tissue massage also tends to be more intense in pressure as order to get to those further down layers of tissue.

People are often wary of a deep tissue massage in fear of the pain, but many say it’s a ‘good’ pain and find it relaxing. Remember, at any time during any massage you can ask for less pressure if it’s too much for you.

4. Lomi Lomi Massage.

The Hawaiian lomi lomi massage was traditionally passed down through families, so there are a number of techniques used. Many lomi lomi massage therapists will use a combination of massage with other rituals, so one may be very different to another.

During a lomi lomi massage, the therapist will generally be massaging more than one place at a time, using long, fluid, ocean-like motions. These movements are said to help release blocked energy, as well as be highly relaxing.

5. Thai Massage.

Something people don’t expect from a Thai massage is that you’ll most likely be lying on the floor. This allows the massage therapist to guide you into more manual manipulations and stretches than if you were on a bed.

Another often unexpected method of Thai massage is the therapist’s use of their full body, including their knees or feet. However, it’s worth noting this shouldn’t be painful, so you should let them know if it is.

6. Acupuncture.

Technically, acupuncture is a form of trigger point massage therapy and not actual massage. Although it is commonly used in conjunction with one of the types of massages listed here.

Acupuncture is the use of very thin needles, which are inserted into what are known as acupressure points. It’s believed these points connect different parts of the body, and there are a number of different methods to assist with different ailments.

7. Connective Tissue Massage.

In between your muscle and skin is connective tissue, which supports your organs, muscles and joints, providing them with oxygen and ridding them of toxins. During a connective tissue massage, the therapist will normally not use oil and will use quite intense pressure to reach that deep embedded tissue. 

It may surprise you to know you can also have a connective tissue massage on your face, as it’s thought to help firm up the muscles, helping prevent wrinkles.

8. Pregnancy Massage.

Even the easiest of pregnancies will still tend to induce swelling and body aches. However, as laying in certain positions can be difficult and you’ll be more sensitive in areas, so a regular massage may not be the best option. This is why the pregnancy massage was specially created to help our expecting mums.

The key differences in a pregnancy massage are normally a specially designed table and the use of pillows so you’re supported and comfortable. You will be asked what stage of your pregnancy you’re in as it’s not advised to be lying on your back during the second half, due to the increased pressure on the vein running through your legs to your heart.

9. Reflexology.

Reflexology is a treatment you’ll often see on the extra menus, but can be a service all of its own. This ancient Chinese method relies on the theory that there are points in our hands and feet that connect to other areas of our body and organs.

When pressure is applied to these points, it’s said to assist with healing that corresponding part. It’s also said to help with stress and anxiety.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Does remedial massage have any side effects?

After any type of massage, you may feel some discomfort, such as feeling dehydrated or something similar to being lightheaded. There is also the chance of injuries being aggravated further, especially if you have not advised on them before treatment.

What happens during a remedial massage?

Before a remedial massage, you’ll be asked to fill out a brief medical history form and disclose any injuries or conditions to help the therapist customise your treatment and not aggravate any existing concerns. The therapist may also ask you to do some movements to see your posture and flexibility.

After your assessment, you’ll be taken to a room and be recommended to undress to the level you’re comfortable with, but recommended to your underwear. You’ll be provided with a towel to cover yourself when positioning yourself on the massage table.

During your treatment, your therapist should check in with you every now and then to ensure the pressure is alright for you. Always speak up if you’re feeling any pain.

Once your massage is complete, the massage therapist will provide you with any advice or information you need, including what to do after your massage, such as drinking enough water. In the following days, you may experience some soreness, and it’s recommended you eat a healthy diet, drink enough water and get enough rest after.

How much is a remedial massage?

In Australia, the price for a remedial massage varies on length of treatment and where you visit. Generally, you’ll be looking at around $40 to $50 per half an hour.

Some massage therapists may offer a discounted price for package purchases or for different industries. You may also be able to get a rebate on your private health insurance, if it’s included in your plan.

Do I need a referral for remedial massage?

No, you do not need a referral for a remedial massage. It is recommended you only go to a qualified massage therapist with a good reputation, which your doctor may be able to recommend for you.

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      Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not replace professional medical advice. Neither Localsearch nor the author are responsible for any misuse of any information within this article. Results of any medical treatment will vary depending on the person. For advice specific to you, please speak to your local general practitioner.

      Sarah Russo

      UX Content Writer

      Sarah Russo is a UX Content Writer at Localsearch with a decade of experience in traditional and digital marketing. She has written for and assisted in the social media and marketing strategies for many different industries, including real estate, medical, health and fitness, trades and beauty. When she isn’t nose deep in data, SEO research or her content strategy, Sarah is a gym junkie, foodie and gamer with a brain full of random facts that come in handy far more often than you would think. As a digital marketing all-rounder and lifestyle specialist, her articles provide insight into marketing, advertising and branding for small businesses on the Localsearch Business Blog, as well as some handy lifestyle tips on the Localsearch Blog.