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Remedial Massage

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Remedial Massage

In This Article
History: How does it work?:
A typical appointment: Timings/ Cost/ Sessions:
Is it right for you?:
Remedial massage derives from traditional massage therapy first used by ancient Egyptian, Greek and Far Eastern civilisations. Hippocrates, said to be the father of medicine, noted the benefits of "rubbing" on the human body in 460BC. Remedial massage uses the techniques of Swedish massage developed in the 18th century by Swedish physician Per Henrik Ling.

Remedial massage incorporates deep tissue massage and sports massage methods. Deep tissue massage was developed in 1940 by Therese Pfrimmer, a Canadian physiotherapist. Pfrimmer began her own 'deep tissue therapy' after suffering paralysis in her legs and published a book on the subject titled "Muscles - Your Invisible Bonds". Sports massage techniques were first used in the 1924 Olympics by a Finnish athlete and have been used ever since for sports performance, endurance and recovery from sports injury.

Remedial massage also utilises manual therapy practices of osteopathy and physiotherapy. Manipulation of the body's structure to improve mobility and reduce circulation problems was developed by physicians and specialist nurses during the 19th century and are an essential part of primary healthcare today.

The aim of remedial massage is to identify the root cause of a disorder, treat its symptoms and encourage the body's natural healing process. Remedial massage aims to improve muscle, ligament and tendon function by allowing these soft tissues to move freely. In cases of injury, or chronic muscle tension caused by disease or disorder, painful adhesions in muscle connective tissue builds up preventing movement. Muscles that are not able to function properly can also block circulation and cause inflammation through a build up of toxins.

By applying pressure and friction across and along the muscle fibres, the remedial massage therapist breaks down adhesions in the connective tissue and restores range of movement. The release of muscle tension improves circulation, reduces stress and aids pain relief.

The remedial massage therapist also uses passive stretching and physical manipulations. These techniques correct the body's structure, ease restricted movement and re-establish normal circulation. By doing so, the body will function efficiently minimising further damage or disease.

Be prepared - It is advisable to choose a remedial massage practitioner who is a member of, or is accredited by, an association or professional body. This ensures your remedial massage session is carried out in a suitable environment and by someone who has received formal training and ongoing development. Members are also bound to a code of ethics and practice. The main remedial massage organisations are listed at the foot of this article. On finding a remedial massage practitioner, ask about their expertise and testimonials from previous clients.

Before your appointment, spend time thinking about your condition and what you expect to achieve with remedial massage - you may want to recover from an injury or disorder, reduce muscle tension or relieve stress. Make some notes about your expectations as this will aid your therapist.

Remedial massage will release toxins from the body so you should avoid alcohol on the day of your appointment and drink plenty of water before and after. This will help with flushing the toxins from your body. Have a light snack (nothing spicy or fatty) a couple of hours before you see the practitioner and if you can, consider taking a short walk beforehand to warm up the muscles.

Be aware that remedial massage requires the practitioner to be hands-on and you will need to be fully or partially undressed during the treatment. Your remedial massage therapist will provide you with towels, a robe or blanket.

What to expect - Your remedial massage therapist will spend time during your first appointment questioning you about your medical history, general health and lifestyle. They will then examine your body for muscle imbalances and check your range of movement. From this assessment, they will be able to diagnose your problem and recommend a course of remedial massage treatment.

The therapist will use various massage techniques on any areas they feel need treating and will begin by applying pressure and stroking movements (called 'effleurage') using their fingers and palms. This light rhythmical movement helps to relax muscle tissue and aid the therapist in identifying tender areas to avoid later.

As the session progresses, deeper pressure (called 'petrissage') is applied to stretch out and separate muscle tissue and encourage better circulation of fluids in the body, this is done using a kneading technique. The final method (called 'frictions') involves breaking down built up scar tissue and separation of muscle fibres. You will be asked to breathe deeply during this part of the session when tense muscles are being worked on. Be aware this massage can be uncomfortable but you should inform your therapist if they go beyond your comfort zone.
Your remedial massage therapist may also employ manipulation and mobilisation techniques. You may hear a popping noise in your joints as they use these manipulations but this shouldn't be painful. Gas bubbles in the fluid of our joints pop with certain movement and it is perfectly normal.

After your session you may feel slightly sore or tired. Remedial massage will dehydrate the body and release toxins so drink plenty of water afterwards. Your therapist will discuss the treatment with you and then make recommendations for any further sessions. They may also suggest ice packs to apply on the areas that have been treated.

Your first session with a remedial massage therapist may take longer than subsequent sessions as your practitioner carries out their initial assessment and then recommends a course of treatment. Expect this session to last 60-90 minutes and follow-up sessions 30-60 minutes.

The cost for remedial massage varies so check with your local practitioner before making an appointment. Expect to pay £25 - £40 for your first session with subsequent sessions costing £15 - £30.

Many people feel the benefit of remedial massage after one session. More chronic conditions may need further sessions to fully break down adhesions that have built up over a longer period. The number of sessions you'll require will depend on your circumstances.

Remedial massage is a safe therapy that is beneficial to overall health and can aid stress-relief (often the cause of muscle tension). Remedial massage is not recommended if you have any wounds, infections or bruising on the skin. If you have a muscle tear it is advisable to wait for the tear to heal before having massage on it. If you are diabetic or pregnant, inform the therapist before starting any treatment.

Consult with your GP and remedial massage therapist about any medical problems or concerns you have as they are trained to recognise what can and cannot be treated with the therapy.

This therapy or modality may help with:

Abdominal Pain Anxiety Arthritis
Back Pain Blood pressure Breathing disorders
Childbirth Chronic Pain Circulation Problems
Digestive Problems Frozen Shoulder Headaches
Immune System Dysfunction Joint Pain Ligament Sprain
Lumbago Migraines Multiple Sclerosis MS
Muscle Cramps Neck pain Neck stiffness
PMS PMT Post operative pain Postural problems
Pregnancy Repetitive strain injury Sciatica
Scoliosis Shoulder pain Spinal Injury
Sports injuries Sprain (Ankle, Knee) Stomach cramps
Stress Stroke Tennis Elbow
Tinnitus Tiredness Tremors

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Featured Remedial Massage Practitioners

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About Therapist Qualifications

Massage Training Institute (MTI) Massage Training Institute (MTI) More Info Sports Massage Association (SMA) Sports Massage Association (SMA) More Info
Association of Physical & Natural Therapies (APNT) Association of Physical & Natural Therapies (APNT) More Info Institute Of Sport & Remedial Massage (ISRM) Institute Of Sport & Remedial Massage (ISRM) More Info
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