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What is Medical Massage Therapy?

August 15, 2014 Massage Therapy, General 0 Comments

With so many people turning to holistic healing, helpful alternatives can go unnoticed. One of them is medical massage. But what is medical massage therapy and how do you become certified in it? Whether you're looking for treatment, or want to add another dimension to your massage practice, here's what you need to know.

What is Medical Massage Therapy? Medical Massage Therapy

Unlike traditional massage, medical massage focuses on a particular medical diagnosis as part of the physician's treatment plan, and can be recommended for a variety of maladies, including carpal tunnel syndrome and migraines. It isn't a particular style of massage in itself, but it applies the various massage techniques already in practice to achieve several client-specific medical goals.

Patients can undergo medical massage as a part of a larger physical therapy regimen for numerous chronic problems. From an employee who suffers from back or neck pain while sitting down, to an athlete who pulled a muscle while playing a sport, the practice uses general massage methods to cure localized problems. Training within the field can include trigger point therapy, as well as stretching.

Is it Regulated?

Massage has always been considered therapeutic, but the American Medical Massage Association (AMMA), formed in 1998, has set standards for medical massage practitioners. The AMMA offers a National Board Certification Agency exam, but you aren't required to take it to practice medical massage. To take the level one test, you need to be a qualified massage therapist and have undergone at least 600 hours of supervised massage instruction.

Washington State has mandated that medical massage therapists be eligible for insurance reimbursement, but they are currently the only state with this regulation in place. Practitioners in other states may be eligible for insurance reimbursement, but there's no guarantee, and the Affordable Care Act doesn't make provisions for medical massage, though it does make provisions for massage in general.

Getting Started

If you're looking for a medical massage therapist, the best place to start is asking your doctor about incorporating this alternative treatment into your therapy and asking for practitioner recommendations. If you're seeking a therapist independently, be sure to ask about specific continuing education in that specialty and previous experience treating your medical diagnosis.

If you're considering a degree in massage therapy, keep this specialty in mind to add another dimension to your career after graduation. With your certification as a massage therapist and some additional training in medical massage, you may become a part of the traditional healthcare team, treating both physical ailments and stress. What is medical massage therapy if not an opportunity to make a physical difference in people's lives?

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