While most of us have at least some notion of what remedial massage is, we might still struggle to explain specifically what it’s all about if we had to explain it to our next-door neighbour.
The key word in remedial massage is ‘remedy’. Whether you suffer from an actual condition (tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, tension headaches, knee pain, etc.) or from something more general, like neck tension or stiffness in the back, the aim here is not only to loosen up tight muscles, but also to correct the specific imbalances responsible for the pain or dysfunction – basically to treat the root cause of the issue. Your practitioner may hence assess your range of motion, observe your posture, how you use your body and identify any movements that are painful or uncomfortable.
On top of all the wonderful benefits of massage (reduced muscle tension, improved lymph and blood flow, and the release of the feel-good hormones endorphins, which reduce stress and pain), expect here a thorough understanding of anatomy and biomechanics, the use of techniques such as trigger point therapy or sustained myofascial tensioning, and above all the skills and knowledge to determine where and how to treat to get the results you want.
How is remedial massage different from other types of massage?
With a variety of styles to choose from, ranging from Thai to Chinese massage, Swedish massage, Therapeutic massage, Relaxation, Sports or even Clinical massage, we are rather spoilt for choice. While all types of massage have their place, the first difference in Australia is in terms of qualifications.
An entry-level massage therapist (Certificate IV) offers something called “Therapeutic Massage”, with specialisations available in sports or relaxation massage (a.k.a. Swedish massage). “Therapeutic” means that you can expect here all the valuable benefits of massage in terms of muscle tension and general well-being – but not necessarily the skills and knowledge to treat conditions and correct imbalances. As a result, do not expect a rebate from your private health fund either!
To get those precious dollars off your bill, you need a practitioner who has completed a Diploma of Remedial Massage. The final words go to Medibank Private, which sets the requirements for benefit payments Australia-wide on the premise that “remedial massage is designed to balance muscle/soft btissue 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 1 .”
Well… now you know you are in good hands!
by Aline Schlueter, Remedial Massage Therapist, Dip.
Click here to book an appointment with Aline or call us on 07 5578 7155.
Pain – “Its just muscular” – the best way to treat muscular pain
What is muscle pain?
Muscle pain OR muscular pain is the name we use when the type of pain we feel is dull, aching, non specific to one area and non invasive on our daily function.
This problem is easy to treat and there are two ways to do this
1. find the key points in the muscle that seem to be causing the symptoms (Trigger points)
2. find the reason why the muscle developed the “active trigger points” in the first place
Finding Trigger Points
- these spots are tender points within a muscle. When pressed, they causes pain locally and people can also feel pain referred down their arm or their leg for example. This is usually normal.
- If you feel pain down your arm, the back of your leg, the back of the head or around your shoulder blades and it’s hard to tell exactly where it’s coming from then it usually means that you have a Trigger Point that is active – it produces pain without anyone pressing on it. This is not normal and requires treatment
What causes Trigger Points?
- There are many causes for Trigger Points, but mostly you find them in muscles that are always working, such as muscles that maintain posture (good or bad).
- So for example a lot of us have tender spots in our upper traps because we are constantly holding our shoulders up. Some of these points can refer pain into the head region, it can feel like you have a constant headache.
- Other causes include poor posture, bio-mechanical stress, injury, strain, stress, anxiety and chemicals in our food or environment.
How are Trigger Points treated?
- Trigger Points are treated by applying sustained pressure on them. Sometimes you can feel nodules or a knot in the muscle tissue where a Trigger Point is present. It can be quite tender, but for most people it is a sensation of pain that comes with a sense of relief, especially afterwards. It’s what we call “good pain”, it is like tension leaving your body.
- Secondly, identifying the reason why the Trigger point became active is important in making sure that it doesn’t return.
Eg. you sit at on office all day with bad posture. you develop active trigger points in your neck region, You get relief from massage or pressure directly on the trigger point but without making good improvements in your posture the neck pain returns
How Remedial Massage Therapy / Physiotherapy can help
- We identify where your trigger points are based on the pain you feel
- We know exactly how to remove these active trigger points and get you fast pain relief – check out Aline – our massage therapist doing this great self treatment drill
- We know exactly how to identify the cause of these trigger points
- We give you things to do to address the cause of these active trigger points so that they don’t become active again