Those with chronic or acute injury may not be confined to rehabilitation. Massage therapy may be beneficial as well for those suffering from chronic or acute injuries. Benefits include decreased pain and anxiety, increased endorphins, decreased insomnia, less muscle spasms, decreased tension headaches, and an increased sense of well-being and relaxation.
Finding an experienced clinical massage therapist (or rehabilitation massage therapist) is vital, as opposed to a massage therapist. The massage will be a site-specific treatment with a defined goal or outcome that treats a particular problem area.
Compared to a traditional relaxation massage, a clinical massage will have a therapist with the same basic skills and knowledge as a relaxation therapist, but with specialized experience working with people with injuries or complaints. Many clinical massage therapists continue their education with the hundreds of available diverse courses. Many take classes that will shape their practice, such as classes for Rotator Cuff injuries, IT Band Syndrome, common orthopedic injuries, Neuro-fascial Integration and positional release. The classes are advanced and hands on. Clinical massage therapists usually work within a medical setting with chiropractors, physical therapists, athletic trainers and doctors at their disposal.
Before the first massage, the therapist will discuss patient history and what they wish to get out of it, whether it is to be pain free or to run better. A multitude of questions are asked in hopes of knowing all there is to know about the patient and to create a plan of treatment. The therapist may recommend how frequently the patient should be treated, what the patient can do to further their treatment on their own and may refer the patient for further treatment if necessary.
However, there are disadvantages. Treatments can be pricy potentially reaching $200 an hour and insurance policies may not cover therapeutic massage. Also, they can be time consuming ranging from 60 to 90 minutes without the ability to multi-task during the treatment. For busy people this may be an issue. Massage therapy is an intimate treatment sometimes requiring partial nudity, an issue for some as well. No matter how skilled a therapist, there is still the risk of accidental injury including bruising, soreness and potentially nerve damage with deep muscle massage. In some very rare cases, massage therapy has set off nerve related illnesses like shingles and neuropathies.
Overall, the benefits may outweigh the disadvantages. While some injuries may require both, some may only need massage therapy or rehabilitation. Your doctor or therapist can prescribe the course of treatment and decide what is best for the injury. For more information or to find a clinical massage therapist visit the first link below.
Livestrong- Disadvantages to Clinical Massage Therapy: http://www.livestrong.com/article/129614-disadvantages-massage-therapy/
Beaumont-Benefits of CMT: http://www.beaumont.edu/integrative-medicine-massage