Getting a massage is meant to be a relaxing experience but if you are in pain, the type of massage you need is different from the one you d get to relax. Jessica Riggs, a licensed massage therapist, joins New Day Northwest to discuss the importance of medical massages.

Notes from Jessica Riggs:

Medical treatment massage is typically a deep tissue massage that is used to treat specific injuries or illnesses. Patients who receive medical massage usually have a work or auto related injury where massage is prescribed for a period of time to help with the rehabilitation process. However, most health insurance carriers will cover massage therapy for an individual even if they haven't had a specific accident that has caused an injury. For example some people have chronic pain or headaches that diminishes their activities of daily living such as sleeping, exercising or even reading a book. Medical massage is usually site specific and can help patients with all types of pain, so that they are able to get back to normal functionality.

Relaxation massage usually comes in the form of a lighter touch, most commonly known as a Swedish massage. This technique is very useful for managing stress, and helping patients to calm down and relax. Typically relaxation massage is usually performed at a spa and may incorporate hot stones, aromatherapy, and reflexology. Relaxation massage also helps people process grief and other emotions and just creates a general sense of well being. Relaxation massage is usually a full body massage including hands and feet. Medical insurance will not cover massage for relaxation.

Determining what type of massage works for you is key. All types of massage accesses the bodies systems. Your circulatory system and lymphatic system are addressed whether you are receiving a medical or relaxation massage. However, using deep tissue will definitely help the body to detox more than a lighter massage. Consult with your practitioner about your desired results so that he or she can cater their style to you personally. All licensed massage practitioners should be able to perform either medical treatment or relaxation, but some may specialize in one area over another. Like myself for example I am freakishly strong and prefer to give a deep tissue medical treatment massage because that's what I'm best at. But I also have patients who enjoy lighter work and when I work with them I change my style.

The best way to find a massage practitioner is through word of mouth. It's a little intimidating to some people getting a massage for the first time. You may feel nervous, but if you know someone who has had a session with your practitioner that can help you to feel more comfortable and know what to expect. Another great way to find a therapist is through your health insurance carriers provider directory.

Massage therapists are required to maintain their continuing education. Washington highly regulates our licenses and requires us to take 24 credits of continuing education classes every 2 years.

For more information on Edmonds Wellness Clinic, click here.

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