What is Massage?
Massage is a therapeutic treatment modality which can be used as part of the holistic management of a range of musculoskeletal conditions. It involves the use of the therapists’ hands, forearms and elbows to apply a variety of techniques, using varied levels of pressure, to manipulate soft tissues such as the muscles and fascia.
Benefits of Massage
Massage can assist in promoting physical and mental wellbeing by:
- Reducing muscle tension
- Increasing blood flow, improving the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the cells
- Increasing the flow of lymphatic fluid within the lymphatic system, improving the systems role in maintaining immunity
- Promoting relaxation through the release of endorphins
- Improving sleep
- Increasing joint range of motion and muscle flexibility
- Reducing stress and anxiety
Types of Massage
Are you confused by the various terms used to describe the different types of massage, or unsure of which type of massage is best suited to you? The best person to ask is your therapist, however the following guide may be helpful:
Relaxation massage is suited to individuals who are feeling generally tired and fatigued, or need to de-stress physically or mentally. A relaxation massage can assist in promoting general wellbeing, by promoting relaxation, reducing muscle tension, and improving circulation and lymphatic drainage. It is typically performed over a larger area of the body (e.g. full body, or head/neck/shoulders), and consists of long, flowing strokes at the individuals chosen level of pressure.
Remedial massage is suited to individuals with a specific area of pain or muscular tension. It involves a thorough patient consultation and physical assessment to determine the potential source/s of, and contributors to, pain and muscular dysfunction, and uses a variety of treatment techniques to target these specific areas. Treatment techniques may include myofascial release, deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, dry needling, muscle energy techniques, and stretching.
Sports massage isn’t just for athletes, it is suited to any individual who spends large amounts of time placing their bodies under physical demand, whether it be via sport or their occupation. The primary aim of sports massage is to assist in:
- Managing current injuries
- Enhancing physical performance
- Minimising the risk of injury during activity
- Assisting in recovery and tissue repair post-activity
This is achieved primarily through increased circulation and lymphatic flow, and improved joint range of motion and muscle flexibility. The assessment and treatment techniques performed during a sports massage consultation are similar to remedial massage, but are generally applied with a firmer/deeper level of pressure.
Physiotherapist vs. Massage Therapist- Who Should I See?
Massage is a treatment modality used by both physiotherapists and remedial massage therapists- so who should you see for your issue?
In general terms, if you’re feeling tired and fatigued, feeling stressed, or are experiencing general increased muscle tension- remedial massage therapists are the best people to provide you with the relief you need.
It is best to see a physiotherapist if you have:
- A specific area of pain, that is
- an acute injury, or one which has gradually developed and you are unsure why/how it has developed, and
- the source of your pain has gone undiagnosed
A physiotherapist will provide you with a diagnosis and prognosis, determine the contributing factors to your condition, and to place you on an individualised management plan to address these factors. Massage may be considered part of a broader, more holistic management plan- which may be performed by the physiotherapist as part of your consultation, or they may refer you to a remedial massage therapist if they believe you would benefit from a stand-alone consultation.
At Wanneroo Physiotherapy, our physiotherapists and remedial massage therapists work closely together to provide you and your family with the highest quality, evidence based clinical care. Our remedial massage therapists Sheldon Griffiths and Pia McEvoy join us having completed extensive training to achieve their qualifications, each with extensive clinical experience. They are registered members of their professional associations, Massage and Myotherapy Australia and the Association of Massage Therapists respectively, and have professional indemnity insurance.
To learn more about Sheldon and Pia, follow the link below…