Medically Necessary Massage – Essential Service

Nick Pavoldi BodyWork Professionals
Medically necessary massage is permitted in the new “Red” zone making massage therapy an essential service. This means those that are seeking massage therapy as a medical necessity may still come in should our region enter that phase. We may also operate in the yellow and orange zones.
To our knowledge, all of our sessions have been conducted safely thus far. We take more precautions than what is mandated and will continue that high level of safety. Instance of transmission within our field is difficult to find, and this determination is a validation that this work can be conducted safely.
I’ll be adding a new Medical Massage category, and instructing staff on medical massage techniques.

What is medically necessary massage?

There state did not define it and we are asked as therapist to use our professional judgement. I’ll try to sum up our position.
Medically necessary massage is massage or bodywork that is targeted at a specific soft tissue problem that you feel is negatively impacting your life or health. This could be pain or mobility issues, stress management or injury recovery.

Medical massage therapist compared to a general massage therapist

The work of a medical massage therapist differs from that of a general massage therapist. Medical massage therapists have advanced training and experience that allows them to provide care focused on healing injuries, improving function, or increasing circulation. They typically work in hospitals or clinics, may receive orders from a physician as to the type of massage treatment they should give their patients, and can even be paid through the patient’s health insurance.

On the other hand, general massage therapists typically work in spas with the main goal to provide relaxation for their clients. They may use similar techniques as a medical massage therapist, and they may even be able to alleviate some pain, too. However, a general massage therapist’s main goal is not treating a medical condition, but rather reducing stress and promoting relaxation for their client.

Scope of practice

A medical massage therapist works closely with doctors to treat patients who are affected by pain, illness, or injury. Their typical day-to-day roles and responsibilities include:

  • Providing massages to patients for a variety of lengths
  • Using various massage techniques to manipulate muscles and soft tissue to treat chronic pain and injuries
  • Listening and explaining various aspects of medical massage to patients

Their work has the specific goal to alleviate pain and treat health conditions such as neuropathy, cancer, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, or even high blood pressure.

Can I enjoy my massage?

Sure. Massage can be both medically necessary and pleasant.
Is stress management a medical necessity? Yes. Chronic stress can effect your health in a variety of negative ways emotionally and physically. Stress can be held in the body, and massage is an effective way of dealing with stress.

What other issues would make massage medically necessary?

  1. Relieve postoperative pain

  2. Reduce anxiety

  3. Manage low-back pain

  4. Help fibromyalgia pain

  5. Reduce muscle tension

  6. Relieve tension headaches

  7. Sleep better

  8. Ease symptoms of depression

  9. Improve cardiovascular health

  10. Reduce pain of osteoarthritis

  11. Decrease rheumatoid arthritis pain

  12. Lower blood pressure

  13. Decrease symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  14. Help chronic neck pain

  15. Lower joint replacement pain

  16. Decrease migraine frequency

Additional thoughts

Looking back, it seemed that being able to open in June seemed like early days of this thing. We were given the news a few days ago that massage will be considered an essential service.  In some ways finding out that massage was deemed essential was thrilling. It always was and by the response we got when we opened I realized what an important part of so many lives it is. while this will offer many challenges of it’s own, I am still confident we can do this work safely in the community.