I’ve seen an increase in the number of inquiries we’re receiving about our medical massage therapy services of late, and although I’m glad for the interest, I’ve been just as puzzled about the reasons why. Medical massage is typically administered under the guidance of a doctor for medically related conditions ranging from light muscular trauma to more clinical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.
Normally, patients under a doctor’s care seek medical massage therapy at the suggestion of their doctor. However, many are seeking massage therapy for relief from the symptoms of their conditions without necessarily needing medical massage therapy.
One of the answers became apparent recently. As the weather gets colder, our bodies naturally react by constricting blood vessels to minimize heat loss through the extremities. This can lead to all kinds of muscular aches and pains in the feet and arms which exacerbates discomfort levels in a wide variety of people suffering from different medical conditions. Although I’m fortunate to be in excellent health, my feet started aching toward the latter half of last month when the cold and rainy weather graced our normally sunny shores.
Massage therapy is a natural circulation enhancer that ALSO helps the muscles and the lymph system purge toxins that otherwise lead to decreased energy levels and increased discomfort in cold weather. Although I haven’t researched the matter, I strongly suspect that cold weather aches and pains are one of the reasons for classic Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Thinking about it, that would make a good research project that I’ll post about later on.
Meanwhile, medical massage seekers don’t always need medical massage per se. Again, medical massage is administered in strict accordance with a doctor’s prescription, where any non-medical massage therapy can be utilized to achieve relief from a wide variety of symptoms that are a consequence of a medical condition. For example, Parkinson’s sufferers can enjoy many benefits such as improved range of motion, muscle loosening and relaxation, and improved stability and mobility to name a few, all with a classical and gently administered Swedish massage. Persons suffering from diabetes can enjoy improved circulation in the extremities with either Swedish massage, a comfortable deep tissue massage, Myofascial release, or any of a number of other massage therapies.
When we receive an inquiry for medical massage, we typically ask what medical condition is being treated and who the physician is. This frequently causes confusion when the client is taken aback by the question (by the way – if this has happened to you we DEEPLY apologize!). However, that reaction typically indicates to us that the client is really seeking relief from the symptoms of a medical condition and not treatment for the condition itself.
After we get the proper understanding of the client’s needs, we can recommend an appropriate massage therapy to bring the client the most effective relief. If that turns out to be medical massage, we will work carefully with your doctor to administer only the massage therapy prescribed.
Which leads to another point… If we are administering medical massage according to a doctor’s prescription, we MUST adhere strictly to his or her prescription. Clients undergoing medical massage therapy will frequently request we treat other areas of the body. Unfortunately, medical massage – of all massage therapies – is strictly administered, and we cannot deviate from the doctor’s prescription of treatment under any circumstances (we LOVE to massage, but doing so outside the scope of the prescription can cause more harm than good).
Therefore, if you are suffering from a medical condition that is bringing you discomfort or dysfunction, medical massage may be an appropriate therapy – provided it is prescribed by a doctor. If not, there are a multitude of other non-medical massage therapies that may bring effective relief for the symptoms of your condition. If you are considering massage therapy to help relieve a medical condition, be sure to ask your doctor of medical massage (massage requiring a prescription) is required in your case, or if any massage therapy you find preferable is acceptable.
As always, if a medical condition is involved, discuss any massage therapy you may be considering with your doctor FIRST, and ALWAYS adhere to his or her guidance when considering massage therapy.
…And of course, DO CALL if you have any questions we can answer!