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Remedial massage

4-minute read

Key facts

  • Remedial massage is a complementary therapy.
  • Problems with your muscles can cause issues in other parts of your body.
  • Remedial massage can help treat different problems caused by your muscles and other soft tissues.
  • Your remedial massage therapist can talk with you about your health, and tailor a massage to your needs.
  • Before having a remedial massage, talk to your doctor.

What is remedial massage?

Remedial massage is a complementary therapy. It can be used to help people with problems that affect the muscles, tendons and bones. Remedial massage should not replace care from your doctor.

Problems with your muscles can cause pain in other parts of your body. Remedial massage aims to:

  • find the problem
  • treat the problem
  • manage your symptoms

What does a remedial massage involve?

Remedial massage is used to find any problems you may have, and help you heal. Depending on your problem, the pressure applied can either be:

  • strong and deep
  • gentle and shallow

Before having a remedial massage, your therapist will ask you about:

  • why you made the appointment
  • your health and lifestyle
  • if you have any problems or health conditions

They will ask you to lie on a table or couch and will cover you with towels to protect your privacy. Any parts of your body you do not want exposed can be covered.

Your massage therapist may use creams or oils on your skin during your massage.

If you feel uncomfortable during your massage, tell your therapist. They can talk with you and help you to feel more comfortable.

The therapist will use several different techniques to find and repair damaged areas of your body. They might:

  • stretch parts of your body
  • move your joints

Common massage techniques include:

  • effleurage — smooth stroking along a muscle
  • petrissage — strong stroking applied across a muscle
  • friction — deep, circular motions
  • kneading — squeezing a muscle
  • hacking — lightly striking a muscle

What are the health benefits of remedial massage?

Remedial massage may provide health benefits by:

  • increasing circulation (blood flow)
  • increasing the mobility (movement) of your joints
  • stimulating your damaged tissues to help them repair
  • relaxing your body

Remedial massage can help relieve problems such as:

  • neck, shoulder or back pain
  • muscle cramps
  • sports or other injuries

If you are experiencing a different problem, a remedial massage therapist can see if it is caused by your muscles, tendons or bones. Your massage therapist can then tailor your massage to help treat the issue. They may help to realign your body and posture.

This can improve problems such as:

Remedial massage can also help:

There is also some evidence that remedial massage can help premature babies gain weight.

Before having a remedial massage, ask your doctor for advice.

Resources and support

Visit healthdirect's massage therapy guide to:

  • learn about some of the different types of massage available
  • get help in choosing a massage therapist

You can use healthdirect's service finder, which is a free service to helps you find your nearest health services. You can search for health services such as:

For more information on remedial massage, you can contact Massage & Myotherapy Australia (Australian Association of Massage Therapists) on 03 9602 7300.

Visit the Australian Massage Directory for help in choosing a massage therapist.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: August 2023

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