BY IAN CHOW, CERTIFIED MASSAGE THERAPIST
More often than not, I have come across client or potential client asking me what is a treatment massage and how does it different than massages being offered by other brands which can be categorised as wellness massage. So here it is (at least in Malaysia context):
(Important: This write up is not to showcase which is better than the other but purely to give the reader a better idea on the two)
A). Solution Oriented
In a nutshell, treatment massage which some known as medical massage or clinical massage are solution oriented targeted to specific problem / dysfunction that a client may experience at the point of service, meanwhile wellness massage are mainly for relaxation purposes.
I do understand and aware that some wellness massage is able to treat or alleviate certain pain that client is experiencing too but this is not the primary focus.
If there is no specific dysfunction, treatment massage can be done too to maintain a general well being of the client’s body.
B). Diagnosis and Plan
Treatment massage may require certain diagnosis with a treatment plan then being device out based on the findings. For wellness massage, such steps are not necessary and a routine will be followed.
For treatment massage, you may need to go for follow up session and certain (sometimes specific) techniques will be used. For wellness massage, no follow up is needed and the next time you go, it is similar routine being done on you.
Treatment massage therapist will also use different massage modalities (tool set) that they know to treat a condition. Meanwhile, for wellness massage, you choose a very specific modality i.e. Thai style, Tui Na, Swedish, Deep Tissue etc from the very start.
Treatment massage therapist will have some form of documentation or records kept on your personal details, preference, the diagnosis / findings, what have been done or what needed to be done in future session etc. Meanwhile, wellness massage rarely keep a thorough record except that some do ask for your personal details.
Treatment massage therapist may also conduct a short interview with the client before the treatment begins to understand their condition better and this will then proceed to palpation, observation and checking the range of motion.
A treatment massage therapist will have a higher level of understanding of the human anatomy and physiology to be able to perform their duty well but it may not be the same for a wellness massage therapist.
Depending on the category of community that a treatment massage therapist may specialised in i.e. geriatric, oncology, athletes etc they will also have a more extensive knowledge on the pathology aspect.
In certain cases, the massage therapist may also be working closely with physiotherapist, chiropractor or any other physical therapist complementing each other treatment towards a clients condition(s).
Just like wellness massage, treatment massage can be as relaxing as wellness massage too, especially if there is no dysfunction that need to be addressed by the therapist.
At the end of it all, once again, I do believe that both form of massages do bring therapeutic value to the client. And it certainly does help the client to address their stress level which could be the root cause of a lot of physical pain. Plus, both is able to promote better mental health condition.