What is Medical Massage?

Recently, in many of the professional Massage publications, which includes professional associations, there have been intense discussions regarding the terms Medical Massage, Therapeutic Massage, Orthopedic Massage and Sports Massage.

It is a well-known fact, that many arguments are sparked because of the differences in terminology. In my opinion, the terms Medical Massage and Therapeutic Massage are one and the same. I am fairly optimistic that every dictionary will support my position. We are massage therapists, which means we provide therapy by means of massage. Therapy means health benefits to the human body and that is what medical massage therapy stands for. I call the methods I teach and practice – Medical Massage. I do this for a simple reason; the founders and researchers who developed these methods called them Medical Massage.

Massage Therapy encompasses different disciplines, specializations and expertise. For example, full body medical stress management massage, associates important methods in managing the side effects of stress, including high blood pressure, anxiety, tension headaches, and ulcers, as well as the prevention of the aforementioned pathologies. Orthopedic massage is also a medical/therapeutic massage, that deals with procedures designed to treat back and limb disorders that might be the result of sports related injuries, industrial injuries, and car accidents, etc. Another area of expertise is sports massage, including pre and post-event sports massage procedures. Pre-event sports massage helps us prepare athletes to perform better, as well as to prevent sports related injuries. Post-event sports massage is a series of methodologies that focus on rehabilitating professional athletes and gym enthusiasts from the side effects of vigorous exercise and overtraining.

I believe that scientifically designed step-by-step protocols are much easier to study, than a selection of techniques based on spontaneous compilation. Step-by-step protocols are promising faster and more sustained results as well as preventing practitioners from aggravating their clients’ conditions. For a field practitioner, it’s irrelevant whether we label our methods as “Medical Massage”, “Therapeutic Massage” or “Massage Therapy.” It is more important to realize, that massage therapy is a simple, powerful and safe therapeutic tool.

Recently I had a conversation with a massage therapist who, although he is not a graduate of mine, he has taken many of my advanced, continuing education classes. Coincidentally, this practitioner also has a strong background in Marketing. His opinion was that my medical massage programs are so valuable, that students, like in any other school, should be required to pass an interview and an entrance exam before acceptance into my school, This would be especially so for the advanced classes. My reply was that I believe in a simple approach to medical and sports massage. Everyone regardless of their academic background, who wants to treat people with their hands, should have an opportunity to become a massage therapist. What sets a good therapist apart, is not his ego, social status, intellectual level, or ethnic background, etc., but his ability to deliver results.

Based on my experience educating over 7500 students, I have come to the conclusion, that in the beginning of the training process, it is very difficult to predict, which individual will be a better practitioner. To discover one’s potential as a healer, it takes will, desire and dedication, the right philosophical approach, and understanding. My hope is that this book will help you follow the right direction in discovering your true potential.


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