What is a Remedial Massage

After more than 30 years in the Allied Health sector I still get asked “Can I have a Remedial Massage?” When I enquire as to what the issue is, the most common reply is “Oh, nothing. I just want a remedial massage.” 
According to Oxford English Dictionary the definition of the word remedial is:
aimed at solving a problem, especially when this involves correcting or improving something that has been done wrong ie

  • remedial treatment (= for a medical problem)
  • Remedial action must be taken now
  • The building needs urgent remedial work to make it safe.

When we are talking about Remedial Massage (Soft Tissue Therapy) Medibank Private has a very detailed definition:
Remedial massage is the systematic assessment and treatment of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissues of the body to assist in rehabilitation, pain and injury management.  – It goes on into more detail that fills an A4 page!

The use of the word ‘massage’ in remedial massage gives both the general public and even some Allied Health professionals the wrong idea. The word ‘massage’ is most broadly associated with relaxation and pleasant sensation – such as you would have at a day spa. This is not the type of experience that remedial massage offers. Remedial massage is targeted to treat and relieve injuries and ongoing issues, and this means that they can be uncomfortable or accompanied by a tolerable level of pain.
We all know what a Physiotherapist does, we also know what a Chiropractor, Osteopath or a Podiatrist does, but when it comes to Remedial Massage most people have a distorted idea of what we do.

Since 1998 the Training package for Remedial Massage Therapy has included assessment protocols for many common musculo-skeletal problems, as well as developing an appropriate treatment plan and the recording of every treatment and the outcome of this.
Sadly, there are many therapists who are offering remedial services who just “rub where you say it hurts”. They aren’t bothering with the science of anatomy and physiology, which is why as a collective group we are constantly in a battle with the health funds to keep ourselves relevant and active as Allied Health professionals.