Massage Therapy definition
As a therapist, you’ve no doubt been asked by clients and family members about what your massage does or what type of massage you offer.
At some point, you also might need to define what you do when you are speaking with a client’s doctor or insurance company. Maybe you can explain your work clearly when describing whether your massage is relaxational, therapeutic, or medical so the person asking understands exactly what you do. But many therapists I work with stumble over their words and are not able to give a valid answer.
I believe there are two reasons why therapists can’t give a clear answer:
#1. They, themselves are not yet clear on what, exactly it is their massage does for their clients. And,
#2. They’ve never taken the time to actually sit down and think it through well-enough to formulate the words to explain and define their massage services.
My advice when you are thinking of your own massage services, to actually think about the GOAL of your service, rather than the TYPE of massage you are using. In general, I define all types of massage as therapeutic, because as we know and hopefully all can agree on, that being touched in a positive way, with the intent to help and heal rather than to harm, has powerful, therapeutic benefits, no matter what style, modality or technique we use for that touch.
Just recently I was in an online forum discussing the concept of defining Relaxation, Therapeutic, and Medical/Corrective Massage, and I thought I would share the distinctions of the different terms of massage with you, that we use in Active Myofascial Therapy ( .
Hopefully my distinction will help you simplify the concepts and be able to answer the question the next time you are asked.
But first, just to be clear, the answer you give will also vary depending on who you are speaking to and why you are trying to define or explain the terms … obviously you will want to use more technical jargon when speaking with doctors, insurance companies and other Health Care Providers.
- “Relaxational massage” is focused on just that – relaxing, nurturing, calming the body, mind, emotions, and every aspect of your being … So the definition of “Relaxational massage” is that it has the goal to relax and de-stress a person.