10 Ways Medical Massage is Different from Spa Massage


You must have often heard the terms medical massage therapy and spa massage used separately. Have you ever wondered what the difference between the two is? Well in simple terms, a medical massage therapy differs from a spa massage in its basic purpose.

You can say that while a spa massage aims mainly at providing you relaxation and stress relief, a medical massage has an even deeper purpose that involves pain relief and healing.

How a medical massage therapy and a spa massage is different

A massage is an important part of your self-care routine. Both medical massage and spa massage have their own benefits that help you to lead a healthy and fit lifestyle. However, there are some significant differences between these two.

Below are 10 ways in which a medical massage therapy differs from spa massage.

  1. Purpose of the massage

Purpose of the massage is the main difference between a medical massage and a spa massage. Medical massage is mainly performed for pain management, whereas spa massage is mainly performed for muscle relaxation and stress relief.

2. Conditions in which the massage is given

Medical massage therapy has been proven to be beneficial in the treatment of conditions like scoliosis, sciatica, frozen shoulder, carpel tunnel syndrome, and other acute and chronic conditions. A spa massage is usually for relieving muscle soreness and to enjoy a relaxing self-care routine.

3. Training of the massage therapist 

Given the significant differences in the purpose of the massages, the training provided to the massage therapists also differs. A medical massage therapist needs to have a certain medical background and knowledge to treat the specific conditions. On the other hand, a spa massage therapist will have to learn some basic massage techniques like gentle strokes.

4. The frequency of the massage sessions

While spa massage sessions are decided by the client, medical massage sessions are recommended by the professional and should have regular follow ups for the treatment to work.

5. The setting in which the massage therapy is given

Medical massage therapy mostly takes place in a clinical setup, whereas a spa massage will take place in a spa along with other beauty treatments.

6. Techniques used during the massage

The techniques involved in medical massage therapy are deep tissue release massage, PNF stretches, trigger point release, and lymphatic drainage. In a spa massage, different techniques like hot and cold stones, facial wrap, and a gentle hand pressure as preferred by the client.

7. Luxury Vs. Treatment

A spa massage is more of a luxurious process, whereas a medical massage therapy is given as a part of treatment for different conditions that cause pain and discomfort.

8. Benefits of the massage on the body

Both medical massage and spa massage are beneficial for your body. However, the benefits can differ based on the techniques used in the massage. While medical massage help in treating chronic and acute conditions that cause pain, a spa massage helps to induce relaxation of the body and mind and helps you feel good.

9. Spa massage comes with additional beauty treatments

A medical massage therapy is strictly a treatment procedure, whereas a spa massage can come with other beauty treatments like facial, head spa, foot massage, and many more.

10. Outcomes and results

Medical massage is a long-term outcome-based massage and the results can be clearly decided after a certain number of sessions are complete. On the other hand, a spa massage is based on the feeling of relaxation that a client feels after a single session.

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