Remedial Massage Therapy

What is massage and what role does it play in health care?

Massage is the practice of influencing soft tissue by physical, functional, and in some cases psychological purposes and goals by accredited professionals.

Complementary and alternative medicines are attracting more and more attention within the context of health care provision and health sector reform. The term alternative medicine, as used in the modern western world, encompasses any healing practice “…that does not fall within the realm of conventional medicine”. Complementary medicine generally refers to the same interventions when used in conjunction with mainstream techniques.

The question what is massage? can be contextualised within complementary and alternative medicines because it can be used either independently, or along with mainstream techniques.

What is massage therapy?

Massage or manual bodywork comes under the category of complementary or allied health in Australia. Massage professionals and professional areas belong to the ever growing group of allied health professionals and their subspecialties.

Because their job descriptions become more specialised, massage therapists must adhere to national training and education standards, their professional scope of practice, and often prove their skills through diplomas, certified credentials, and continuing education. Members of the profession must be proficient in the use of many skills.

Your massage professional should be able to give you a comprehensive answer to the question of what massage therapy is and, more importantly, how it will benefit your particular needs.

What is massage technique?

Massage is the practice of influencing soft tissue by physical, functional, and in some cases psychological purposes and goals by accredited professionals. Massage involves acting on and inspiring the client’s body with pressure (structured, unstructured, stationary, and/or moving), tension, motion, or vibration done manually or with mechanical aids. Target tissues may include muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints, or other connective tissue, as well as lymphatic vessels, and/or organs. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, forearm, and feet.

There are over eighty different massage modalities. The most cited reasons for introducing different massage modalities have been client demand and perceived clinical effectiveness.

The AAMT has adopted a broad scope of practice that outlines what massage therapy is.

Scope of Practice

The intent of the Scope of Practice is not to be a restrictive description of massage therapy but an inclusive expression of the core characteristics of massage therapy. 
The following points are what the AAMT believes to be the essential characteristics of massage therapy in Australia:

  • Hands on practice
  • Touch (which may, or may not involve physical touch)
  • Direct and immediate communication on possibly several levels between client and practitioner
  • Commitment to client well-being

Massage is known to promote health and well-being and is probably the oldest healing discipline known to man.

The origins of the word “massage”

The word “massage” has many different Ancient roots, from the French massageis “friction of kneading,” or from Arabic massa meaning “to touch, feel or handle” or from Latin massa meaning “mass, dough”. In distinction the ancient Greek word for massage was anatripsis, and the Latin was frictio. An older etymology may even have been the Hebrew me-sakj, “to anoint with oil”.

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