Home Mental Health & Well-Being What Does a Medical Massage Therapist Do?

What Does a Medical Massage Therapist Do?

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Clinical massage therapy can offer a beacon of relief for patients grappling with chronic pain, illness, or injury. Licensed professionals, known as clinical massage therapists, collaborate closely with medical practitioners to develop bespoke treatment plans aimed at mitigating pain and addressing specific health conditions.

The integration of massage therapy into clinical settings

As the appreciation for integrative medicine amplifies, massage therapy is progressively becoming a staple in clinical settings. Hospitals and medical centres are now more frequently offering massage therapy, and insurance coverage for these services is widening. This is particularly beneficial for patients suffering from conditions such as cancer or fibromyalgia, or those receiving hospice care, as clinical massage can significantly diminish pain and stress levels.

The role of clinical massage therapists in patient care

Clinical therapists leverage various techniques to manipulate muscles and soft tissues during massage sessions. The treatments they provide are tailored to each patient’s unique requirements, and the duration varies accordingly. These therapists strive to treat conditions such as neuropathy, cancer, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, and high blood pressure, with the overarching goal of enhancing patients’ quality of life and augmenting existing medical treatment plans.

Comparing clinical and general massage therapy

The service provided by a clinical massage therapist differs substantially from that of a general massage therapist. The former, equipped with advanced training and experience, can deliver care focused on healing injuries, improving functionality, or boosting circulation. They often work within hospitals or clinics, sometimes under the direction of a physician concerning the type of massage therapy to administer to patients. Their services may even be covered by the patient’s health insurance.

On the contrary, general massage therapists typically work in spas with a primary objective of providing relaxation. Although they might employ similar techniques to a clinical massage therapist and might even manage to alleviate some discomfort, their main objective is not to treat medical conditions. Instead, their focus is on stress reduction and promoting relaxation.

The unique work environment of clinical massage therapists

Clinical massage therapists are commonly found in hospitals and medical clinics, which present several significant differences compared to a spa setting. They might work bedside, navigating around medical equipment and potential interruptions, and often under harsh lighting. This contrasts starkly with the tranquil, dimly lit rooms, complete with calming background music, typically found in spas.

Another major disparity between working in a spa and a healthcare setting is the unpredictability of the schedule in a hospital, clinic, or nursing home. Therapists are required to adapt to the patient’s schedule and accommodate interruptions from the healthcare team or family members.

The benefits of being a clinical massage therapist

Working as a clinical massage therapist carries certain benefits compared to working in a spa. One such advantage is that therapists need not worry about marketing their services or scheduling clients, as they receive patient referrals from the clinical staff. This allows them to concentrate solely on their patients’ treatment without the burden of business-related tasks. Furthermore, the remuneration for therapists working in a clinical setting is often higher compared to those working in a spa, making it a rewarding career both professionally and financially.


Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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