Remedial massage is a hands-on massage therapy completed by your physiotherapist that manipulates both deep and superficial tissues to support your recovery from pain, injury, or other limitations that are impairing your performance or comfort in daily life. Unlike relaxation massages that aim to help you unwind and feel relaxed, remedial massage is designed to yield a specific remedial outcome, based on the reason you’re seeing your physio.
One of the keys to why remedial massage is so effective is that it’s performed by physiotherapists that have undergone years of extensive training in musculoskeletal anatomy. There is no guesswork – your physio understands how your body will typically respond when applying various techniques to manipulate your muscles, tendons and ligaments, and how this will support you in enjoying optimal, life-long health. There is a great deal of experience, knowledge and care behind every remedial massage session.
Remedial Massage Techniques
Your physio will always structure your remedial massage session based on what is best for you given the nature of your complaint, your current symptoms, and your progress. They may use a range of techniques including:
Effleurage is a stroking or gliding motion where your physio uses their palms or fingers to help promote blood flow and stimulate the central nervous system. Effleurage is usually performed at the beginning of your session to warm up your muscles.
This refers to the kneading, lifting, stretching and squeezing of the soft tissues and the underlying muscles. Your physio will use their fingers, hands or forearms, this action can range from gentle to intense. Petrissage lifts tissues away from structures to relieve tension and stretches and loosens muscle fibres. It also helps to stimulate the skin including vascular and lymphatic responses, such as supporting the body to drain toxins and eliminate waste products in the body. The petrissage technique in which is applied with pressure helps break down adhesions. Following effleurage, petrissage promotes blood flow and improves flexibility.
Frictions aid in breaking down scar tissue and ‘knots’ within your muscles, tendons and ligaments while helping realign tissue fibres. Frictions are applied across the direction of the muscles, or in circular motions. Your physio may rely on their forearms, elbows or even knees in order to apply enough pressure to reach the deeper tissue.
Acupressure and Trigger Point Therapy
Acupressure is similar in nature to acupuncture and dry needling – just without the needles. Your physio will use firm finger pressure on trigger points in your body, which are sensitive, contracted areas of muscle fibres that often cause strain and pain. Working on these trigger points will help to stimulate the body’s natural healing process, decrease pain and relieve tightness. When working on trigger points around the neck and shoulders, we often see a reduction in the presence of headaches, where trigger points are often an underlying cause.
Myofascial release is a stretching technique that helps release fascial restrictions in the body. Your fascia is a connective tissue that surrounds and protects structures in the body. When injured, fascia can instead tighten and restrict movement. By working on the fascia to slowly stretch and remove the restrictions, your flexibility and range of motion improves, supporting your recovery.
What Does Massage Therapy Treat?
Remedial massage is used to help in the treatment of a wide range of pains and injuries. It is typically one component of a comprehensive treatment plan devised by your physio after a thorough clinical assessment and diagnosis. Our goal here at PhysioCentral is to not only help relieve your pain and symptoms while allowing the injury to repair, but also to support your optimum health and movement for the years to come. We may recommend remedial massage for:
- Neck or shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Postural pain
- Lower limb pain
- Sporting injuries
- Arthritic pain
- Re-injury prevention
- Chronic pain
- Post-surgical rehabilitation
What Are Massage Therapy Benefits?
Remedial massage can have a wide range of benefits for your body, depending on the goal of your massage and the techniques used. These may include:
- Reduced pain
- Supporting damaged tissues to heal and repair
- Muscle relaxation
- Increased flexibility and range of motion
- Easing of stiff joints
- Improved blood flow and circulation
- Faster recovery
- Helps reduce the risk of future pain/injury
What Does A Remedial Massage Appointment Look Like?
Before any remedial massage is started, your physiotherapist will complete your assessment and explain your results and diagnoses, so you know exactly what has happened and why. From here, your physio will explain your treatment options and a recommended treatment plan. If remedial massage is part of this plan, it is likely that you’ll be able to start your first session in that appointment (time permitting).
Depending on the location of the injury, you will be asked to lie down on the plinth, either on your stomach or your back. Your physio will then explain the techniques they will use, and will talk you through what they’re doing and feeling as they work through your massage. For us, knowledge is power, so throughout your massage we aim to inform you about exactly what’s happening as much as possible, while also regularly checking feedback on any pain levels – given we are often working with an area that is already injured and tender.
You will have plenty of time to ask your physiotherapist any questions, and you’ll also discuss the plan for future remedial massage sessions moving forward. In our experience, you will likely need several sessions (at least) depending on the nature of your injury, though we will always check your progress at each appointment and guide your treatment based on the results.
Why Choose PhysioCentral For Remedial Massage?
Here at PhysioCentral, we pride ourselves on providing exceptional physiotherapy services across Hong Kong Central and Wong Chuk Hang. Our physio team is second-to-none with their experience, skills, and genuine care and passion for every patient they see, and helping them get the very best treatment outcomes. Our physiotherapists are highly experienced in remedial massage, and we also have dedicated Massage Therapists and Medical Acupuncturists on our team. You’re in the best hands with us.
How often should you get a remedial massage?
This will depend entirely on the nature of your injury and your assessment findings. Your physio will make recommendations when creating your tailored treatment plan and discuss this with you. It may also change depending on the rate of your recovery progress. Often, we start with a weekly massage session, with home stretching and strengthening exercises and other treatment modalities between the sessions.
Does remedial massage hurt?
Remedial massage is not designed to be painful, but for many people, we are trying to support an area that is already injured, painful or tender to heal and repair. So there may be some discomfort at times during your massage. As your massage is completely hands-on with your physio, however, you are both communicating throughout the process and so can manage any discomfort accordingly.
What should I do after a remedial massage?
Drink some water and stay hydrated throughout the day. Eat well and have a good nights’ rest. Continue with any exercises or home rehab prescribed by your physio. Your physio will also give you advice about whether you need to modify any activities throughout your recovery, as well as anything else you should be doing after your massage.