It’s common practice to head to the spa and turn to relaxation massage therapy to address aches and pains. But not all types of massage therapy are created equal. Our general perception of massage involves deep relaxation and relief from tense muscles. In other words, we associate massage with relaxation. A relaxation massage incorporates techniques to relax the entire body or relieve local pain.
On the other hand, remedial massage is a scientific, clinical approach to manipulating the soft tissues in order to treat a muscle, bone, or nerve problem. Remedial massage is considered a legitimate medical treatment, and may be included under your extras cover.
Rather than opting for a whole-body relaxation massage in the hope of easing that chronic ache, try a specialised remedial massage instead.
Here are five ways remedial massage differs from your usual spa treatment.
1. Remedial massage addresses chronic muscle pain
We usually get a relaxation massage to address general body aches, such as those we experience after a punishing workout or a long week of work. In contrast, remedial massage is specifically aimed at chronic muscle issues, like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
Pain from such conditions is caused by tightening of the soft tissues, including the muscles and the tendons attaching them to the bones. Tense muscles will stiffen and spasm the same way they do when you get a cramp.
Remedial massage techniques during your session will be concentrated on the area of concern. Touch and physical manipulation causes tightened muscles to loosen, releasing the pressure and allowing muscles to return to their relaxed state.
2. Remedial massage realigns joints
The other component of this equation is the skeletal system, and misaligned joints could contribute to the root of chronic pain. This could be caused by anything from injuries, to health conditions such as arthritis, to simply the consequence of years of bad posture.
Remedial massage starts off with assessing your range of motion and muscle strength. If your problem involves a joint, your massage therapist will focus their attention on the tendons and ligaments surrounding it, any stiff muscles, and any misaligned bones.
Unlike a relaxation massage, a remedial massage will concentrate on manipulating your joint gradually until you can get as close as possible to a normal range of motion. Once your joints have been realigned, you can recover a full range of motion and experience a return of muscle strength.
3. Remedial massage relieves nerve pain
It’s surprising how many health conditions and chronic pains stem from nerve damage, and you might not yet know it. Postural issues, bad sleeping habits, and injury can all be culprits.
Remedial massage can help with conditions involving pinched nerves, as in the case of sciatica or carpal tunnel syndrome. This usually happens when nerves are compressed by connective tissue due to repetitive movements, injury, or poor posture.
Remedial massage is an advisable treatment over relaxation massage, because it takes a trained health professional to assess such conditions. Your therapist will need to execute the massage at the correct intensity so the nerve isn’t compressed further. A proper remedial massage will relax or realign the compressing tissue in order to free the pinched nerve and relieve the pain.
4. Remedial massage lowers stress hormone levels
Any kind of pain stimulates the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, giving you the will to power through the pain and to function despite it. When you have chronic pain, this means the level of cortisol in your body is also perpetually elevated, and your body is conditioned to always be on high alert. This results in various problems like insomnia, mood swings, weight fluctuations, and a weakened immune system.
Now, the soothing touch from a relaxation massage may release endorphins, feel-good hormones that decrease pain for a short period. But for as long as the source of your stubborn, chronic pain is not addressed, this kind of massage will not be a lasting solution to your discomfort and continually heightened cortisol levels.
A remedial massage specifically targets the muscles, bones, and nerves at the root of your pain. Once your massage therapist has worked his or her magic, pain is relieved and cortisol levels will decrease.
5. Remedial massage promotes circulation in the affected area
Another goal of remedial massage is to stimulate blood flow to the affected area. Increased circulation leads to greater delivery of much-needed nutrients and oxygen to the damaged tissues. The nutrients, particularly proteins, promote tissue repair and healing. Increased oxygen delivery relieves muscles of lactic acid, which is produced during cramps and spasms and contributes to muscle tension and pain.
Compared to relaxation massage where circulation is encouraged throughout the whole body, remedial massage concentrates these effects on the damaged or painful site.
It’s easy to assume that all massages are soothing and equal in their therapeutic value, but there’s so much more to massage therapy than that. Remedial massage, in particular, is more than a pamper session – it’s a legitimate clinical treatment that addresses muscle, bone, and nerve problems.
Consider adding remedial massage to your treatment plan to free you from the restrictions of chronic pain. But before you book your next appointment, why not compare cover to find an extras policy with remedial massage benefits? Not only can you save money, you’ll have an extra excuse to pamper yourself and feel great.