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Beyond Relaxation: Unveiling The Therapeutic Power Of Remedial Massage


Beyond Relaxation: Unveiling the Therapeutic Power of Remedial Massage

Massage therapy has become a popular choice for promoting relaxation and well-being. Within the world of massage exists a specialised form with a more targeted purpose: remedial massage. While both offer benefits, remedial massage takes a therapeutic approach specifically designed to address pain, injuries, and musculoskeletal dysfunction.
In this blog, we'll delve into the key differences between remedial massage and "normal" massage, exploring their benefits, approaches, and how they can contribute to a holistic injury prevention and treatment plan.

Understanding the Spectrum of Massage: Relaxation vs. Rehabilitation

Regular Massage: Often referred to as relaxation or Swedish massage, this technique utilises a combination of strokes, including kneading, stroking, percussion, and vibration, to promote relaxation, improve circulation, and reduce muscle tension. It focuses on providing a general sense of well-being and can be a great way to de-stress and unwind.
Remedial Massage: This therapeutic massage technique goes beyond relaxation. It employs a variety of specialised techniques like trigger point therapy, myofascial release, and deep tissue massage to target specific areas of pain, injury, or dysfunction. The therapist will assess your posture, movement patterns, and areas of concern to create a personalised treatment plan aimed at improving flexibility, reducing pain, and restoring optimal function.

Here's a table summarising the key differences:

Feature Relaxation Massage Remedial Massage
Focus Relaxation, stress reduction, general well-being Pain management, injury rehabilitation, improving function
Pressure Lighter, more flowing strokes May use deeper, more focused pressure
Techniques Swedish massage techniques (kneading, stroking, percussion) Trigger point therapy, myofascial release, deep tissue massage, stretching
Customisation Less customisation, often follows a general routine Highly customised based on individual needs and assessments
Treatment Plan Typically a single session or occasional sessions Often part of a treatment plan with multiple sessions

Benefits of Remedial Massage:

Remedial massage offers a range of benefits that extend beyond relaxation. Here are some key advantages, along with some scientific evidence to support them:
  • Pain Management: By targeting specific areas of pain and tension, remedial massage can significantly reduce pain associated with muscle strains, repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), and chronic conditions like arthritis. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that remedial massage was effective in reducing pain and improving function in individuals with chronic low back pain.
  • Improved Flexibility and Range of Motion: Techniques like myofascial release and stretching help break down adhesions and tight muscles, improving flexibility and range of motion in your joints. This can enhance athletic performance and daily activities. 
  • Injury Rehabilitation: Remedial massage plays a crucial role in the rehabilitation process after injuries like sprains, strains, and surgeries. It can accelerate healing, reduce inflammation, and improve scar tissue formation. 
  • Postural Correction: Tightness and imbalances in certain muscle groups can lead to poor posture. Remedial massage can help address these imbalances, promoting better posture and reducing pain associated with postural issues. 
  • Increased Blood Flow: The application of pressure during a remedial massage session can improve blood circulation, promoting faster healing and delivering essential nutrients to injured tissues. 
  • Improved Lymphatic Drainage: The lymphatic system plays a vital role in removing waste products and toxins from the body. Remedial massage can stimulate lymphatic drainage, helping to reduce swelling and improve overall health. 
  • Muscle Relaxation and Reduced Fatigue: Remedial massage techniques can help relax tense muscles, reducing fatigue and improving overall muscle function. A 2017 study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that massage therapy was effective in reducing muscle soreness and fatigue after exercise.
  • Enhanced Proprioception (Body Awareness): Remedial massage techniques can stimulate sensory receptors in the muscles and joints, improving proprioception or body awareness. This can enhance balance, coordination, and overall movement mechanics.

Comparison Examples:

To better understand the difference between remedial and relaxation massage, consider these scenarios
  • Lower Back Pain: Someone with chronic lower back pain might find temporary relief from relaxation massage due to its focus on general muscle tension reduction. However, remedial massage would target specific trigger points and tight muscles contributing to the pain, potentially providing longer-lasting relief and improved function.
  • Post-Surgery Recovery: After surgery, remedial massage can be incorporated into a rehabilitation program to reduce scar tissue formation, improve flexibility, and promote faster healing. Relaxation massage wouldn't be as effective in addressing these specific post-surgical needs.

Techniques in Depth:

Here's a brief explanation of some key techniques used in remedial massage:

  • Trigger Point Therapy: This technique focuses on applying pressure to specific tender spots in muscles known as trigger points. These trigger points can cause referred pain in other areas of the body. By applying pressure and stretching techniques, the therapist aims to deactivate these trigger points and alleviate pain.
  • Myofascial Release: This technique targets the fascia, a connective tissue web that surrounds muscles and other structures. Restrictions in the fascia can contribute to pain and tightness. Myofascial release uses sustained pressure and gentle manipulation to stretch and release these restrictions, improving flexibility and reducing discomfort.
  • Deep Tissue Massage: As the name suggests, deep tissue massage employs deeper pressure than relaxation massage to target deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. It can be particularly effective for chronic muscle tension, knots, and adhesions.

The Role of the Remedial Massage Therapist:

A qualified remedial massage therapist plays a crucial role in your treatment journey. They will possess:

  • In-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology to understand how the musculoskeletal system functions.
  • Training in various massage techniques to tailor the treatment to your specific needs.
  • Excellent communication skills to discuss your concerns and goals for treatment.
  • The ability to assess your posture, movement patterns, and areas of concern to create a personalised treatment plan.

Self-Care Alongside Massage:

While remedial massage offers significant benefits, it's most effective when integrated into a holistic approach to well-being. Here are some self-care practices that can complement your massage therapy:

  • Stretching: Regularly performing stretches can help maintain flexibility and improve range of motion, further enhancing the benefits of massage.
  • Strengthening Exercises: Building strength in the muscles that support your joints can improve posture, reduce pain, and prevent future injuries. An exercise physiologist can design a safe and effective strengthening program for you.
  • Proper Posture: Maintaining good posture throughout the day can significantly reduce muscle strain and tension. There are exercises and techniques you can learn to improve your posture.
  • Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle: Eating a nutritious diet, getting enough sleep, and managing stress levels all contribute to overall well-being and can optimise the results of your massage therapy.


Ready to experience the benefits of remedial massage? At our centre, we offer remedial massage alongside other services that can complement your recovery and well-being journey. These include:

  • Exercise Physiology Appointments: Our qualified exercise physiologists can design a personalised exercise program to improve your strength, flexibility, and overall fitness, working in conjunction with your remedial massage therapy.
  • Gym Membership: Gain access to our state-of-the-art gym facilities to continue your exercise program and reach your fitness goals.
  • Pilates Classes: Enhance your core strength, stability, and body awareness with our Pilates classes, a perfect complement to remedial massage.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss how we can help you achieve optimal health and well-being.