Medical massage

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Medical massage is outcome-based massage, primarily the application of a specific treatment targeted to the specific problem(s) the patient presents with a diagnosis and are administered after a thorough assessment/evaluation by the medical massage therapist with specific outcomes being the basis for treatment. It is also known as clinical massage or treatment massage.

There are many massage schools and programs that teach 'Medical Massage' as a technique. Though Medical Massage is any massage treatment used to treat specific medical conditions. There is no one technique that is medical massage. Medical Massage is taking whatever style of massage the practitioner knows and applying that technique to specific conditions to bring about specific outcomes.


Massage has been used as a medical treatment dating back to the Chinese over 5000 years ago. More recently Professor Silas Weir Mitchell (1829-1914), a neurologist in Philadelphia, PA in the US, is thought to be the first to bring massage to the attention of the US Medical Community. In 1884, Douglas Graham, MD of Boston Massachusetts wrote A Practical Treatise on Massage which focuses on the treatment of specific diseases and disorders by using massage as a treatment. In 1885, Dr Harvey Kellogg published the classic textbook The Art of Massage,Its Physiological Effects and Therapeutic Actions. During the nineteenth century, massage in Europe was described in the medical literature and was taught at institutions and also offered by lay practitioners. In 1886, William Murrell, an English Physician wrote a book Massage as a Mode of Treatment. In Russia, M.Y. Mudrov, MD used massage and movement exercises in his medical practice with adults and later applied it to the development of children. [1]

Massage has been popular as a form of medical treatment in Russia since the late 1700s.[2]

The American Medical Massage Association[3] (1998) and The United States Medical Massage Association (1999) followed with similar goals of lifting the profession to higher standards and, in turn, giving patients a better outcome. The AMMA has worked [according to whom?] with the standard medical community to bring massage therapy into the mainstream; they have done this through a board of advisers that includes massage therapists, physicians, chiropractors etc.

The term "Medical Massage" has grown in popularity because of its unique ability to bring massage therapy into the mainstream and present massage therapy in a positive way to doctors and patients. Everyday more good massage therapists are raising their education levels and integrating the term medical massage into their routines.

The term "medical massage" was birthed By Pete Spairring owner of Cedar River Medical Massage ( as away to convey to patient that Massage was legitimate form of treatment for soft tissue injuries. As mentioned above Massage was recognized as a form of medical treatment dating back 5000 by the Chinese. The term Medical Massage did not exist.

Thus the term "Medical Massage" was birthed when Pete Spairring put the name on his business and displayed it for everyone to see. The term caught on after much fighting by therapist and doctors. There were some who realized immediately that the term conveyed everything the public needed to understand that massage was legitimate treatment. Some Doctors felt that massage therapist would use the term to go beyond the scope of their license. Some therapist were worried that massage therapist would use the term to boost their credibility. Due to the diligence and hard work of all the therapist who started using the term "Medical Massage" and their relentless use of good chart noting and communication with the Doctors the fears were removed and currently the term seems to have caught on is being recognized for what it is. A way to convey to the public that massage is a legitimate form of medical treatment.

The public had a need for highly skilled, hands-on therapist and a way to find them. The Term "Medical Massage" made it easier for the public to find what they were looking for. It helped separate massage in to 2 categories.

1.) Treatment 2.) Relaxation.

Much of the present explosion of information in the injury-rehabilitation field can be credited to the work of Dr. Janet G Travell (1901–1997,)[4]


Any Licensed Massaged Therapist is qualified to do medical massage if they have training on how to treat specific problems. State Licensure is the only qualification need to bill for massage therapy. In Washington State and many other states part of the state licensure includes some treatment massage training but the amount of training varies greatly. Massage customers should ask, Therapist about their training and experience in treating the specific conditions that they have. Washington State and Florida are currently the only states that mandates that Massage Therapists be allowed to be contracted providers with health insurance companies. Currently, the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010 does make provisions for every type of provider to be covered in insurance plans. It is possible that massage will be covered by insurance under this new Act.[5]


Medical massage is useful in addressing conditions such as:[citation needed]


  1. ^ The History of Massage by Robert Calvert, 2002
  2. ^ "A History of Russian Medical Massage". 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  3. ^ "American Medical Massage Association provides ce programs, testing, products and licensing help for massage professionals". Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  4. ^ "Introduction and Timeline - Travell Online Exhibit - Gelman Library". Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  5. ^ "The Affordable Healthcare Act and the Massage Profession". 2012-04-30. Retrieved 2013-10-12.