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3 Ways Medical Massage Is Different From Spa Massage

What’s the difference between a spa massage and a medical massage? After all, a massage is a massage, right? Although they do share that similarity, there are many important distinctions between the two. It’s also essential to understand those differences for your own health and wellbeing.

In fact, a medical massage differs in three important ways:

  1. It is outcome-based. In addition to stress relief and relaxation, a medical massage focuses on a medical need. It is often used to manage pain, reduce inflammation, improve circulation, relieve nerve compression, improve digestion, increase flexibility or treat other health care concerns.

  2. It targets your needs through a variety of techniques. Spa massage and medical massage may feel similar, but their techniques differ. During a spa massage, the techniques likely focus on relaxation. A medical massage therapist will use a broader set of therapies for muscle health and recovery.

  3. It includes specific follow-up recommendations. A medical massage therapist will provide a targeted plan for treatment, along with recommendations for a series of timed visits versus a periodic spa visit.

The Goal of the Massages

A clinical massage usually has a defined purpose in mind: to relieve pain or tension on a specific part of the body. With medical treatment, the intention is to improve a specific ailment or condition. However, in a spa setting, there is no clear end goal in mind. Oftentimes, the reason for a spa treatment is more general. The therapist seeks to relax and destress the patient, rather than to heal them.

Different Techniques for Different Circumstances

You may be seeking out massage treatment to relieve muscle pain or tension, or just to relax and unload some stress. However, you do not want to mistakenly pursue the wrong course of treatment. Patients often seek out medical therapy for a specific injury or pain. Naturally, in a medical setting, you will experience more targeted techniques, such as Myofascial Release or Trigger Point Therapy. The therapist will approach the treatment with your specific needs in mind, resulting in more individualized treatment. If you have a specific pain or dysfunction that you wish to address, then you should consider seeking out medical help, rather than spa treatment.

During a spa visit, you’ll likely receive more basic therapy that is focused on relaxation. Although spa therapists have been trained in the general art of massage, they may not have the same level of expertise as physical therapists. Our therapists have received additional training in the form of continuing education courses and certifications, which allow them to provide advanced care and treatment styles.

The Results

While a spa massage may successfully relax you or temporarily relieve some stress, a medical massage will produce tangible results. Medical massage therapy treatment is planned out with a specific goal in mind, and your massage will factor into a larger treatment plan that is based around your health needs and goals.

If you need an appointment, we are just one call away.

Call 941-877-6688 or visit to schedule your appointment.

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