What is Clinical Massage Therapy?

Brianna Clark
February 28, 2017

Clinical Massage Therapy

Different from a massage experience in a spa setting, clinical massage therapy sets its sights on a particular orthopedic issue rooted in a muscle, tendon, ligament, or nerve pathology. Such pathologies limit movement, cause pain and interfere with daily life. Clinical massage therapy is concerned with making functional changes to the soft tissue for the purpose of restoring movement and reducing pain.

In addition to the use of the world clinical, terms that encompass this type of massage therapy include orthopedic and medical massage therapy. Under the umbrella of those terms, clinical massage therapists can apply a variety of techniques to address soft tissue dysfunction. A few examples are neuromuscular therapy, scraping, cupping therapy, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, and Trigger Point Therapy, among others.

Here at The Anatomy of Wellness, we have chosen to use the term Integrative Therapeutic Massage to encompass all the therapies utilized in our unique approach to clinical massage therapy. Our sessions are tailored to the client by way of an individualized assessment and the application of evidence-based techniques such as orthopedic massage, cupping therapy, PNF stretching, scraping, use of a massage gun and kinesio taping, as well as the inclusion of corrective exercise to make long-lasting changes in the body.

What types of things can Clinical Massage Treat?

  • Nerve entrapments such as thoracic outlet syndrome and symptoms similar to those of carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica
  • Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)
  • Trigger points and muscle spasms
  • Mitigation of symptoms caused by sports injury and trauma such as whiplash
  • Tendonitis and tendinosis
  • Muscle imbalances caused by repetitive motions and postural imbalances
  • Joint pain
picture of person getting massage therapy

Assessing Your Pain Complaint

Assessment is crucial in the proper treatment of soft tissue pain. At The Anatomy of Wellness, we prioritize assessment at each session so that our therapists can gather valuable information and use their clinical reasoning and training to treat effectively and efficiently.

What is a Clinical Assessment?

A clinical assessment includes a particular line of questioning to collect objective information from the client followed by a series of evaluations. These evaluations collect information about the client's range of motion and include palpation findings, postural examination and/or special orthopedic tests. While it is the therapist's sole mission to seek out possible causes of your pain to treat effectively, keep in mind it is out of a massage therapist's scope of practice to officially diagnose a condition.

Proper Training

Clinical/medical massage therapists will process specific training around clinical assessment and treatment. Often, this training is sought out specifically and in addition to the curriculum taught in most massage therapy schools. If you are a massage therapist looking for a recommendation for such training, we hold in high regard the certifications offered by The Academy of Clinical Massage, founded by Whitney Lowe, and the materials offered by James Waslaski.

The Importance of Incorporating Movement

It has become undeniable with the research available today that movement must be accompanied with clinical bodywork to make lasting changes in soft tissue. In other words, eccentric loading and corrective exercises (CE) are an invaluable component to a successful treatment plan.

Our clinic offers a signature package called CoreEx™ for this very reason. CoreEx™ combines hyperfocused bodywork with corrective exercises prescribed by one of our CE specialists. An initial evaluation is required before starting on this package which can be scheduled through our online booking system called the Exercise and Movement Assessment.

Your CE program is tailored to your body and is progressed appropriately throughout your time with us. You will receive an at-home program as part of this treatment package to be completed between your sessions here.

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