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Medical Massage vs Relaxation Massage

There is currently a movement in the massage profession to create a separate division for so called "medical massage therapists".  

What is the definition of medical massage?  There are many variations.


Medical Massage Alliance

Massage Today: Orthopedic Massage vs. Medical Massage: Are We Using the Correct Terminology? By James Waslaski  of http://www.orthomassage.net

Is it massage for medical conditions?  Is it massage done when billing insurance companies?  Is it a specific technique that must be learned?

My issue with creating a medical massage division is that it is really more about dividing the profession even further.  Who has the right to determine what is medical or not?  Is Reiki not medical?  What about polarity therapy or other therapies? Are Structural Integration methods not medical when they are used to realign posture that is causing dysfunction? There are literally hundreds of different kinds of massage techniques.  Who is to say that they don't create medically necessary results? Is someone who has 1500 hours of education more qualified to touch than someone with 250 hours of basic massage education that does include pathology?  

The other issue is do we as a profession really want to become part of the medical system?   I for one have been participating as a contracted health care provider for major medical insurance companies and what I have seen is our allowable fees have been reduced (from $99 per hour when I first started in 2001 to $68).  We are constantly being challenged and questioned.  Even Doctors are opting out of provider networks because of the headaches of getting paid.  The insurance industry is in crisis.  Why do we want to even participate in such a network?  (You can read more about my opinions in Issues and Ethics of Working with Insurance Companies.)

Some massage therapists seem to have created the medical massage division thinking that they could charge more for their services because they have to do more charting, paperwork etc when dealing with an insurance client.  This further creates a problem in our profession and is really more about what we charge.  Massage Therapists should charge what they need to make per hour depending on their expenses, education level, and their need for income.  Most massage therapists tend to undercharge.  It is illegal to charge an insurance client more for the same service than you would charge a person paying cash.  The medical massage term allows massage therapists to create a difference in what they do.  I for one, don't throw away everything I learned when doing so called "relaxation massage".  I treat every client the same.  Relaxation clients have health issues that I need to know about and deal with too.  

This whole medical massage movement concerns me.  Any one else?  

How can we get back to the basics of accepting massage therapist for our common bond - using touch to be of service.

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