The main differences between what most people would consider a traditional massage and clinical massage therapy is the targeted nature of the massage, the level of pressure and patient involvement.
Many therapeutic massages are targeted at deeper muscle groups that require greater pressure to reach. They also tend to be focused on the site of an injury or a specific source of pain. It’s often necessary for patients receiving therapeutic massages to take a more active role communicating changes in sensation or pain responses to their massage therapist.
Some examples of massage therapies that might be prescribed as a part of an injury recovery plan from Optimum Health Rehab might include deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy. Sports massages are similarly used as a therapeutic tool and might be recommended for weekend warriors recovering after a sports injury or for athletes who are looking for targeted relief and an accelerated post-workout recovery.
It can be argued that every type of massage, even a massage that you’re getting purely for the relaxation benefits, is therapeutic in nature.
For example, many people get full body Swedish massages to relax and relieve surface tension even though they aren’t seeking treatment for a specific injury or condition. Swedish massages actually share many of the same techniques you would find in a deep tissue massage, but the long strokes are less forceful and are primarily targeted at surface tension rather than deep myofascial tissues.
Some patients receiving massage therapies might also want to avoid certain massages. Applying heat to injuries or severe inflammation might actually worsen the condition. If your injury would benefit from RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) then you should skip the hot stone massage.
Should I Get a Massage?
If you’re generally healthy and are looking for a little stress relief or just a nice gift to get a friend or family member, massages administered by the highly skilled, experienced and certified Georgia massage therapists at Optimal Health Rehab are a great idea. In addition to performing massages on an appointment basis we also offer massage packages and gift certificates.
There may be certain conditions that won’t benefit from particular types of massages. If you are recovering from an injury you should speak with your chiropractor or doctor about clinical massage therapy.
If you are getting a massage, make sure to inform your massage therapist about any injuries you have or pain you might be experiencing. They can either modify their therapy or recommend alternative massage techniques.
Are Massages Safe for Pregnant Women?
Yes – in fact many people recommend pregnant women receive prenatal massages. Pregnant women do need to be careful when they go in for a massage. Make sure to speak with your massage therapist before you begin, since there are certain massage techniques that should be avoided if you’re pregnant.
Some massages include strokes that target deep leg, ankle and feet tissues. Those particular techniques should be avoided in a prenatal massage due to an increased risk for blood clots. Prenatal massage pressure will likely be akin to a Swedish massage or somewhere between a Swedish massage and a deep tissue massage.
Prenatal massages are kind of a cross between traditional massages and therapeutic massages. Women who aren’t having a difficult pregnancy or any specific health problems related to their pregnancy can still enjoy the relaxation benefits of a prenatal massage.
Prenatal massages can be great for improving circulation, reducing hip soreness, relieving neck and shoulder tension, alleviating anxiety and even reducing the swelling or soreness of feet. The goal of your massage therapist will be to safely relieve aches and pains commonly associated with pregnancy.
Who Prescribes Massages?
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, suffered a sports injury or you’re recovering from surgery, your doctor or chiropractor may recommend receiving specific types of massages. At Optimum Health Rehab we frequently recommend massages as part of our patients’ pain management plans.
However, you don’t need a chiropractor’s recommendation to enjoy the relaxing benefits of a massage. Nearly everyone is a good candidate for a massage.