That ache in your back is not going away, and it’s time to let a professional have at it. Time to call a masseuse…or is it “massage therapist”? Is there even a difference?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident or while playing sports, you want to find the best treatment available to address your underlying condition and provide real healing, not just “symptom relief.”
While massage can be a helpful tool in your recovery, it’s important to find the right kind of massage performed by the right person.
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In this article, we’ll look at the difference between a masseuse vs. massage therapist as well as the many types of massages available to you.
Masseuse vs. Massage Therapist
“Masseuse” is a French word that refers to a female who practices massage. (Males in the industry were known as “masseurs.”) However, due to certain unsavory connotations with the term (as well as the need for more gender neutral terminology), “massage therapist” is preferred.
Although masseuse has come to carry a negative connotation, though, its base definition is quite simple. It means the same thing as massage therapist.
To earn the title, massage therapists have to study their craft and obtain state licensing. From there, they can practice in spas, medical centers, offices, and everywhere in between. And, as the name implies, they specialize in relaxing or healing massage therapy that you need.
However, this doesn’t mean that all massage therapists are the same.
Types of Massage Therapy
There are hundreds of different types of massage therapy, each requiring different education and practice.
Popular ones include, but are not limited to:
Deep TissueSwedishHot StoneAcupressureShiatsuReflexologySports
To be licensed in the State of Florida, a massage therapist needs to complete 500 hours of total course work, but less than half of that is spent studying massage itself. The majority of a massage therapy course will include education on subjects such as anatomy, business, Florida laws, and ethics.
Massage therapists typically choose which modality, or type, they’d like to specialize in, with additional modalities requiring extra education. For example, a therapist might become certified in Swedish massage, then take a continuing education course to learn Shiatsu or Hot Stone massage a few years later.
Each type of massage is used for a different purpose and they are far from interchangeable.
How Is Medical Massage Therapy Different?
If you’re looking to massage to treat and heal a medical condition, you won’t find it at a spa.
Spa massages are only designed with one thing in mind: relaxation. They may be helpful for stress relief or minor aches and pains, but won’t address serious underlying conditions like car accident injuries.
A medical massage, on the other hand, is specifically catered to your body’s unique needs and is designed to facilitate healing. Medical massage is typically used in conjunction with other forms of therapy, such as chiropractic adjustments.
And, where that spa massage is a one-time visit, you will likely have multiple medical massages over a period of several months (or more) until your condition has healed. Your treatment will also be supervised by a doctor with access to your medical records, x-rays, and other details about your injury.
The Right Massage Matters
While there’s technically no difference between a masseuse vs. massage therapist, there is a difference in the type of massage therapist you visit.
Not every therapist is trained in every type of massage, and going to a spa to get relief from your sports injury would be a waste of time and money.
Make sure your massage therapist is certified in medical massage therapy and has real-life clinical experience.
Get Relief Today
Massage is more than just a relaxing activity; it can be an effective method to treat the underlying conditions behind your pain symptoms, but only when done correctly. Only massage therapists trained and certified in medical massage therapy should be trusted with your medical needs.
At Oviedo Chiropractic, we have four Licensed Massage Therapists on staff who are knowledgeable and passionate about providing lasting pain relief through massage.
Our medical massage therapy works in conjunction with the latest chiropractic care techniques and is overseen by Dr. Justin Cough.