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What is Orthopedic Massage?

What is Orthopedic massage - is an extension of orthopedic medicine, a field that originated in the early 20th century with the work of Dr. James Cyriax. Dr. Cyriax developed a system of precise methods for assessing and treating soft-tissue injuries that do not require surgery. The term orthopedic massage was first coined by Whitney Lowe, a leading massage therapy educator and columnist.  This modality has several distinguishing features that set it apart from other forms of massage. They fall into three major categories: theory, assessment and treatments. 


To practice orthopedic massage effectively, therapists must possess a thorough background understanding of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and body mechanics. They must also understand a variety of additional core concepts, including adhesive scar tissue, myofascial restrictions, ligament laxity, direct vs. indirect causes of pain and referred pain.


Orthopedic massage is a type of massage therapy which is focused on treating painful conditions which affect the soft tissues of the body. The massage therapist may integrate a range of techniques to treat these conditions, ideally adapting his or her style for each client, as every person's body is slightly different. This type of massage may be recommended by a physician who wants a patient to pursue multiple treatment modalities, and people can also see an orthopedic massage therapist independently.


A therapist who performs orthopedic massage focuses on problems with the client's musculoskeletal system. He or she may release tight muscles, help to stretch shortened muscles and tendons, and decompress joints. The goal is to normalize the soft tissues of the body, both to treat specific conditions and to keep clients generally healthy and fit. Because this type of massage is designed to treat medical conditions, it requires extensive training, as an unskilled therapist could harm a client by accident.


The first step in an orthopedic massage session is assessment, in which the therapist will talk to the client about the problem and examine the area of interest. Then, the therapist establishes a treatment plan which considers the physiological effects of various massage techniques. This style of massage is very flexible, since it integrates a wide range of bodywork styles with the end goal of improving the client's condition.  Finally, the therapist works with the client on the table. By using various soft tissue manipulation techniques, the massage therapist can alleviate an assortment of painful conditions caused by soft tissue strain. Depending on the client's issue, the massage therapist may recommend multiple sessions to treat the problem, to ensure that it is eliminated and to build up strength and resistance in the affected area so that the condition does not recur.


Orthopedic bodywork can help you:

  • accelerate full recovery from accidents and injury
  • reduce chronic pain and discomfort
  • improve posture and balance
  • optimize athletic performance
  • increase flexibility and functional strength
  • minimize susceptibility to injury
  • stimulate circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids
  • improve tissue elasticity and relax tired muscles
  • relieve feelings of stress and improve quality of sleep
  • increase your sense of wellbeing and vitality

Orthopedic Bodywork helps maximize the benefits of chiropractic and orthopedic medicine, acupuncture, physical therapy, "deep tissue" massage, and all athletic and fitness disciplines. The work is results-oriented, providing lasting relief and long-term benefits.  It is also deeply relaxing and nurturing.