Technically, Medical Massage is Massage Therapy that is ordered by a doctor’s prescription. In reality, many people come to see a Massage Therapist without a prescription. Often, these folks have chronic, long standing condition that causes pain, discomfort or restricts movement activity which has not been helped by traditional medicine, or have been told to “live with it.”
Medical Massage goes by a number of names: Clinical Massage, Orthopedic Massage, Treatment Massage to name a few. Whatever the name, the goal is to relieve pain, relieve sustained muscle contraction, improve muscle functioning and joint mobility, and where possible, restore normal function. Medical Massage is often used as part of other treatment, Medical, Chiropractic, Naturopathic and Osteopathic, to complement these primary treatments.
It is not required to have a doctor’s prescription to receive Medical Massage. Many clients self-refer to try a different approach to manage a condition or because they are not happy with previous treatment progress. It is only REQUIRED to have doctor’s prescription if you wish to bill your insurance.
In New York State, unfortunately, it is rare for health insurance to cover Massage, even with a doctor’s prescription. There are two exceptions: Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA) and Workers’ Compensation. (WC) If you are injured in a MVA or on the job, and your doctor orders Medical Massage as part of treatment, the cost can be billed to your Medical Expense portion of your auto insurance or your employer’s WC plan.
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WHAT IS MEDICAL MASSAGE?
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Medical Massage uses techniques from a variety of Manual Therapy approaches, including Myofascial Release, Neuromuscular Therapy, Trigger Point Therapy, Hydrotherapy(Hot & Cold packs) and basic Swedish Massage strokes. The work is very muscle specific (as opposed to the more general approach of Swedish), generally deeper, and may focus on only one body area. Often it will include passive and or active stretches, joint mobilization techniques.
Your Massage Therapist may perform Orthopedic or Postural Evaluation testing to assess your condition and measure progress. Suggestions may be offered for home care including stretches, monitoring posture or use of certain supplements.
Medical Massage is rarely a one time event. Multiple treatments are typically needed to show significant progress. With your permission, your MT may consult with your primary care (or specialist) doctor to update him/her or plan treatment. In some instances, you may be referred to other healthcare professionals, when appropriate.
Not every LicensedMassage Therapist is qualified to offer Medical - Treatment Massage. Some are Certified Medical Massage Practitioners; most are not. Without specialized training, treatment may not be effective at least; at worst, may make matters worse. Be sure to check the credentials of any Massage Therapist before making an appointment.
Nickolas Steven Clidas, Owner of Well Being Massage Therapy & Advanced Medical Massage Services, is both a NY Licensed Massage Therapist, and Certified Medical Massage Practitioner with 35 years experience.