Comprehensive and specialised physiotherapy services

Evidence-Based Remedial Massage Therapy

How To Get The Best Out Of It!

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Massage therapy is the most popular complementary therapy used by the Australian public. With research in massage therapy gaining significant attention over the last 30 years, clinical evidence exists to support the efficacies of massage therapy on many health conditions, including chronic low back pain. This growing body of research supports massage to become an evidence-based practice.

As a remedial massage therapist at PhysioWest, while pursuing a higher research degree in low back pain, I often wonder what evidence-based practice means in remedial massage. Importantly, what does it mean to you: a person considering remedial massage, or already enjoying remedial massage at our clinic? Let me expand this topic to offer some practical tips to help you get the best out of it!

Evidence-based practice is described as the thoughtful use of the best current evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. In physical therapy, which includes massage and physiotherapy, the approach integrates clinical expertise and takes patient desires, values, and needs into consideration. A study published in the May 2018 volume of the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice Journal, states that although massage therapists in Australia have very good access to apply research evidence in their practice, the majority do not. Those that do are often those that undertake continuing professional education and are members with reputable Professional Associations.

In addition to research evidence, another form of evidence, often overlooked, is experiential evidence – that is, the clinical experience gathered by the therapist as well as the experience of the person who receives the treatment. Yes, your experience reflected back to the therapist is of crucial importance to getting the best out of evidence-based treatments!

Tips to get the most out of evidence-based practice of massage are:

  • Find and use a clinic whose practices are professionally accredited (e.g. partnered by health funds)
  • Book your massage with qualified remedial massage therapists (Diploma or higher)
  • Ask your therapist what type of massage he/she is trained in? (you want someone who can clearly explain their knowledge as applicable to you)
  • Ask if he/she is a member of an established professional association for massage therapists? (e.g. Massage and Myotherapy Australia, previously AAMT, or the Australian Natural Therapists Association, ANTA)
  • If all is safe and agreeable to your standards, trial the massage and take note of your experience during and after the massage
  • Afterwards, reflect and evaluate your “experiential evidence” on how you felt following the treatment (sometimes, the treatment plan may include 3 or more treatments)
  • Reflect and answer this for yourself: Is this treatment good for me? Trust your experiential evidence
  • If Yes, book another massage with that therapist at that clinic!

What does the latest research say about treating low back pain?

Finding the right treatment for low back pain can be tricky, especially because there are so many different options from a wide range of health professionals and therapists. A recent study has
outlined which treatment methods have been shown to be effective in treating low back pain and the findings are summarised below:

1. Advice to remain active and education should always be provided regardless if the pain is acute or chronic

2. Exercise should always be prescribed, and it doesn’t matter what type of exercise it is

3. Hands-on therapies such as massage, joint mobilisation and manipulation can be used as an adjunctive treatment

4. Pain medication such as paracetamol and opioids should not be used to treat low back pain, whereas anti-inflammatories can be used as an adjunctive treatment

5. Low back pain should be addressed by primary care practitioners such as a GP or physiotherapist first who can screen for more serious pathologies

6. Imaging such as X-rays and MRIs are rarely necessary for most low back pain presentations

The bottom line is that if you are experiencing low back pain for either a short or long period of time, you should be trying to stay active as much as possible. You should also see a health professional or therapist such as a physiotherapist who can provide education on your condition and pain in general, prescribe exercises based on your individual needs, and treat your acute symptoms with hands-on therapy.

Let us help you find the right treatment for your pain. Make an appointment online today.

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Blog produced by Spencer (Physiotherapist, PhysioWest)

Do you suffer from chronic neck stiffness and pain?

Yes?

Many of us do,  but you don’t need to suffer any longer!

 

Neck pain is a significant health problem with 1 in 2 people experiencing neck pain at least once in their lifetime, according to a 2016 worldwide review.  Neck pain is often recurrent and of non-specific in nature. With most of us gazing at computers or staring down at our smart devices most of the day, it’s safe to say that stiff and painful necks are not going to go away.

 

So what can you do about it?

Here are three easy things you can do that will help:

  1. Put your computer monitor at eye level and sit up straight to avoid tilting and twisting your head down or to the side while you are on the computer.
  2. When looking at your smart device, be sure to take frequent breaks and avoid having your neck bent in any one position for long periods of time
  3. The key to relief for a stiff neck is proper and regular stretching. So try doing these simple exercises as often as you can:
    • Roll your shoulders backwards and down, hold for 10 seconds, relax, repeat 5 times
    • Squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold for 10 seconds, relax, repeat 5 times
    • Push your head backwards into car head rest or hands, hold 10 seconds, repeat 5 times
    • Bring your ear to your shoulder, hold for 10 seconds, repeat 5 times.
    • Book a head and shoulders massage and feel the relief

We would love to help you get to the bottom of your neck pain. Book online today or call 8352 3582 and make an appointment.

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Blog prepared by: Alan Quek (Remedial Massage Therapist)

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

Remedial Massage – More than just a luxury

Massage Myth Debunked

Recently I overheard two mothers chatting while their kids were taking turns on the terrific Flying Fox ride at Bonython Park.  The first mother said that she had been feeling a bit run down of late, feeling sore through her back and was thinking of booking a massage. She asked her friend, “What do you think?”  The second mother replied, “I have always found facials more relaxing for me than massages. But then I have only had a few massages when away on holidays…”

 

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.

While relaxation techniques are very individual, the conversation made me think of how often people I meet view massage as a luxury “relaxation” item that they indulge in only on holidays. The truth is that massages performed by properly qualified remedial massage therapists, offer much more than relaxation. I would even go as far in saying that regular massages are an essential maintenance therapy for your well-being. Remedial massage can be used as a form of ‘maintenance treatment’  to support optimal well-being.

 

In 2016, an American complementary therapy journal published a review on the use of massage therapy. They found beneficial effects on a wide range of varying conditions including prenatal depression, autism, pain syndromes including arthritis and fibromyalgia, hypertension, and multiple sclerosis. The study discussed that the benefits may relate to the stimulation of pressure receptors used in massage therapy that enhances vagal nerve activity and reduces cortisol levels.

Reading this, I smiled and thought, I must go back to Bonython Park soon and share this study with two mothers.

 

 

Use your private health insurance rebate towards remedial massage therapy at PhysioWest. 

Physio West | Physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage services in Adelaide, South Australia.Alan Quek, Remedial Massage Therapist, PhysioWest

 

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