• Erin Stefanja Alessandro

What is Medical Massage?

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

Medical Massage has been around for millennia. Historic evidence shows that already five thousand years ago the ancient Chinese dynasties knew that manual manipulation of the body had healing powers. Through the centuries massage has been practiced by many cultures. When I was sixteen years old, I had my first medical massage on doctors prescription for neck and shoulder pain. Back then doctors would prescribe six massages for patients that were seen for pain and asked to come back if it didn't help. Doctors then knew that most pain symptoms are directly tight to muscle tension and imbalance.

What does a session look like?

Before you come in for your first appointment you will be asked to fill out a medical intake form. At the beginning of your first session I will go over this form with you to determine your ability to receive medical massage. Some medical conditions need a physicians clearance to receive therapeutic massages. This is followed by a thorough assessment of your complaints. It needs to be determined if your condition falls within the scope of practice of a licensed massage therapist. After that you receive your therapy and you will get recommendations on home care.

What kind of techniques will be used?

Medical Massage consists of many different modalities which can be used during a session. Your therapist will determine what techniques are suitable to use during your treatment.


  1. Massage

  2. Myofascial Release, manual techniques as well as tools

  3. Vibration and Percussion devices

  4. Neurostimulation

  5. Cupping

  6. Gua Sha or Scraping

  7. Stretches

  8. Active Release

What does a Medical Massage feel like?

A Medical Massage differs from a regular massage in many ways. A Medical Massage is not relaxing, might hurt and involves active client participation. Most of the time the clinician has to start on a different muscle group than you would have anticipated due to the location of your pain. This is necessary to be able to work successfully on the area of your symptoms to bring lasting relief. The size of the spot that will be worked on depends on your conditions, your pain level and how fast your muscles release. It is very individual how fast the therapist can proceed. To solve your issues multiple sessions might be necessary and every treatment builds on the other. I commonly say one hour one area. Up to three days following your therapy session you might be sore or show some bruising. Cupping marks can last up to two weeks.

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