Sometimes bad things happen that turn out to be blessings. This was the case when my massage therapist dumped me. I learned a powerful difference between medical massage and wellness massage.
Using Massage for Medical Reasons
I sought out a massage therapist since I had determined that massage was also going to need to be part of my long-term recovery process. (I had never had a massage in my life before this.) I tried a few people in different locations and finally settled on one particular woman. She was doing deep tissue massage on me. Sometimes it worked well and I felt a lot better. Sometimes it left me worse off. I always gave her feedback so I had the best chance of moving forward. (She knew of my long medical history and knew I was doing massage for the medical benefits, not to relax and take a nap.)
Well, at some point I must have offended her because she “suggested” I select another therapist in the office that I might be happier with. This was after I had been seeing her a couple of times a month for quite some time. Well, if she didn’t want to see me I wasn’t going back to that office so I had to look for something else.
After doing some research, I decided to see a physical therapist who had left the place where I had my dry needling done to open her own therapy center. She was also offering massage. Since I knew she was a trained physical therapist, I was confident she knew more about the body, trigger points, etc. than the woman I had been previously seeing.
So I saw this new woman for what were basically medical massages.
Oh. my. word.
I’m so thankful my previous therapist dumped me.
The difference was profound. In retrospect, I believe the other therapist was actually aggravating some parts of my situation and making me worse. Since I started with the PT who does medical massage, I am much better off and am able to go only once a month for a massage. There were stretches with the other therapist I was going four times a month just to cope! (Can you say cha-ching?)
There is a difference in the way a medical massage therapist works. She expects you to be part of the process, offering feedback and answering questions while she is working on you. While therapists who do wellness massage might ask a question, their real focus is giving you a relaxing massage. It might sound like a small thing, but the difference is significant.
I thought I had carefully chosen a massage therapist, but discovered even more along the way. Medical massage has made a real difference in my life. If you have been getting regular massage, but it doesn’t seem to be making enough of an impact past a day or two, you might want to investigate medical massage. Your doctor can even refer you if it is medically necessary and you can run it through your HSA or insurance (if covered).