2 Your Health: What Is Therapeutic Massage?

Heidi Overman, LMT

I have found, in my practice, that when clients schedule a massage, they really want to feel like they have gotten work done. Clients come in and tell us about their aches, pains, injuries, surgeries, and pathologies. They are in pain, uncomfortable, and sometimes hopeless.

They are looking for some relief from issues that have arisen from surgery, a fall, or just years of repetitive motion that have caught up to them. Massage is often their last hope of relieving these issues.

What is therapeutic massage?

Each practitioner defines therapeutic massage differently. Therefore, it is difficult for clients to find the therapist they are looking for. At MEND, we define therapeutic massage as: A full experience where a client has the opportunity to talk to our massage therapist, explain their issues and concerns, and the massage therapist is educated and trained in multiple modalities to work the areas in need of extra attention. We have many different therapists, and we try to match you with the one who can address your issues.

Depth of work is relative in therapeutic work. This is important to understand.

Some therapeutic massage therapists work deeper, and the client feels more of the work. This type of work may leave the client sore in the days after. Many clients prefer this type of massage; however, it may not be recommended.

Therapeutic massage therapists may also work slowly and methodically to release muscles. Clients may perceive this work as too soft because they do not feel the work as much as with deeper modalities. This work is very necessary for many clients. You may walk away thinking that you did not get much work done, but that is the magic of the slow muscle release.

This is why it’s important to have an educated massage therapist who can assess and talk to you about what they feel is happening with your muscles and work accordingly. Communication is especially important, and it is up to you, the client, to say if you feel the work was not appropriate for you. By speaking up, we can write notes and make adjustments to the next session.

As I coach clients about their sessions, I often tell them I can feel their muscles and how they are responding to the work; I cannot feel inside their bodies, and everyone feels the work differently and has different pain thresholds.

Therapeutic massage usually focuses on a specific problem and can help you with many conditions, such as low back pain; plantar fasciitis; limited mobility; recovery from injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls); repetitive strain injuries; postural problems; muscle tension in the hamstrings, glutes, IT band, legs, quadriceps, rhomboids, upper back; osteoarthritis pain; sciatica; piriformis syndrome; tennis elbow; frozen shoulder; fibromyalgia; carpal tunnel pain; and upper back or neck pain.

When using proper techniques, therapeutic massage can be effective in relieving pain, helping your body heal, and preventing future injury and issues.

If you are interested in a therapeutic massage, please call me for an appointment at 520-771-1514. My website is mymendingplace.com, and I’m located at MEND Therapeutic Massage and Restorative Skincare at 15920 N Oracle Rd., Suite 170 Tucson, AZ 85739 (next to the Golden Goose).