According to the American Medical Massage Association (AMMA), medical massage is:
'A system of manually applied techniques designed to reduce pain, establish normal tissue tension, create a positive tissue environment and to normalize the movement of the musculoskeletal system. A scientifically based method of manual therapy that seeks a clear understanding of the scientific principles of physiology that affect connective tissue healing and treatment.'
Medical Massage is a result oriented massage treatment that is specifically designed to resolve conditions that have been diagnosed and prescribed by a Physician or other Licensed Health Care Provider. Your Medical Massage Practitioner has been trained in advanced techniques to address specific issues and conditions. Focusing treatment only on the areas of the body related to the diagnosis and prescription, your therapist may use a variety of modalities or procedures to release abnormal soft tissue tension. (i.e. soft tissue massage, passive and active stretching, range of motion exercises and the use of supportive therapeutic modalities such as heat and cold.)
Medical Massage Therapy strives to achieve the following clinical criteria:
- It is not a general treatment. Rather Medical Massage is applied as manual therapy to the specific area and the primary pathology of the client's chief complaint.
- It is delivered to an anatomical region based on soft tissue and join findings and after assessment procedures, such as muscle tests and palpation.
- Medical Massage protocol involves several progressive steps or stages of treatment that attempt to correct abnormal conditions affecting the joint complex.
- It adopts the medical techniques and protocols of other systems of health care.
- Medical Massage therapy is not limited to myofascial tissues, but includes the joint complex and highly specialized joint mobilization techniques, such as stretching.
Medical Massage Therapy is re-emerging in the United States as a manual therapy system of treatment that does address the needs of clinical rehabilitation.
You don't need a prescription to enjoy the benefits of medical massage. Non-prescribed therapy may be administered to address issues where assessment shows soft-tissue imbalances. However, it is beyond the scope of practice for a massage therapist to diagnose conditions. As powerful as Medical Massage Therapy can be, in certain cases it may be contraindicated. Please consult with your physician or health care provider to determine the appropriate treatment protocol.