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The health benefits of remedial massage

Remedial massage is useful for easing pain and inflammation

A woman enjoying a massage
A woman enjoying a massage

Whether it’s a nagging twinge, dull ache or an acute injury, being in pain can not only be distracting, it can also be debilitating and stop you from doing the things you love.

Remedial massage is useful for easing pain and inflammation related to problems affecting muscles, tendons and soft tissue.

Remedial massage practitioner Kevin Skillen discovered the complementary therapy as a desk-bound office worker in the banking and finance industry. Remedial massage relieved Kevin’s lower back pain so effectively that he decided to change careers.

“I was blown away with the treatment I got,” says Kevin, now Director of Education and Training Standards at Massage & Myotherapy Australia.

What is remedial massage?

Remedial massage techniques ease pain and inflammation to enable your body to heal more quickly.

“Remedial massage therapists work on muscles, tendons, ligaments – any connective tissue or fascia within the body – to help alleviate any stiffness, soreness or pain and improve function,” Kevin explains.

Using their training in human anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology (symptoms caused by disease or injury), remedial massage therapists treat strains, aches and sports injuries and trace pain to its source.

“Pain can radiate to other areas,” Kevin explains. “The restriction may be in the lower back or gluteal muscles, for example, but you may be feeling the pain or discomfort in the hamstrings or down through the legs to the feet.”

Likewise, headaches can stem from the neck and shoulders.

“That’s why it’s important for the remedial massage therapist to do a systemic assessment so they can isolate where the pain is coming from,” Kevin explains.

What does a remedial massage involve?

At your first appointment, your remedial massage therapist will want to get a good understanding of your health background and medical history, noting any surgeries, medications and health conditions you may have.

After a systemic assessment and discussion of your symptoms and expectations, the therapist will leave the room while you disrobe. Just the area being treated will be exposed to the practitioner; all other areas will be draped or clothed.

After treatment, the therapist will do another assessment to measure pain relief and changes in function, plus discuss your treatment plan moving forward.

Treatments may be short-term, but Kevin says the benefits they experience lead many clients to schedule in regular massages for their health and wellbeing.

A senior man grimaces as he stretches his back while holding a cup of coffee

What techniques are used?

“A whole raft of different techniques can be used, depending on the symptoms the client has presented with, the types of medications they might be on and their health history,” Kevin says. “Just because it's a remedial massage doesn’t always mean it’s a deep-tissue massage.”

Techniques can include:

  • Targeted massaging using varying levels of pressure

  • Myofascial release

  • Trigger-point therapy

  • Cupping

  • Neurolymphatic massage and more

Remedial massage benefits

1. Increases range of motion

Remedial massage works to improve joint mobility and relieve tightness and contraction in the body.

2. Relieves pain

Remedial massage therapists locate and treat the source of pain, and speed up the body’s own healing processes for immediate and ongoing relief.

3. Enables relaxation

“When you’re in pain, your body goes into a flight or fight mode where everything is tense and tight,” Kevin says. “If the pain is alleviated, your body relaxes and your central nervous system slows down.”

4. Facilitates healing

Remedial massage increases blood flow and the flow of lymphatic fluid, which enables the body to heal more quickly

5. Improves sleep

Sleeping better is a common outcome when pain is alleviated.

Related: What Extras benefits can I get with nib?

Who should (and shouldn’t) get a remedial massage?

Remedial massage can be effective for people with the following conditions:

  • Neck and shoulder pain

  • Back pain

  • Pain associated with the gluteal muscles or quadriceps

  • Headaches and migraines

  • Sports injuries

  • Arthritis pain

  • Occupational overuse

Remedial massage is suitable for all ages – therapists are trained to tailor their techniques accordingly – but Kevin says it isn’t suitable for everyone.

Kevin advises diabetics to check with their doctor before booking a remedial massage and, while remedial massage can provide oncology patients with effective relief for pain and touch deprivation, they should seek medical advice before proceeding.

When looking for a practitioner, Kevin advises making sure they are a member of an accredited association. Having a good rapport with your remedial massage therapist is also important for the best possible outcome, he says.

Ready to book a remedial massage?

If you have Extras cover with nib and would like to make an appointment for a remedial massage, make sure you contact us first to ensure the provider is recognised by nib and that you are entitled to receive a benefit before making a claim.

If you’re not with nib, but would like to find out more about our Extras cover options, get a quote today or contact our award-winning service team on 13 16 42.