Remedial massage versus relaxation massage

Massages are a great way to combat the aches, pains and built-up tension in your body due to the stresses of everyday life.

There are two types of massage: remedial and relaxation. Both can be highly beneficial for your health, but which type is right for you?

Differences in treatment

Remedial massage is a treatment for physical injuries and pain such as chronic neck and back aches, or injuries from accident and sports. A therapist will work with the patient to reduce pain, encourage rehabilitation and correct physical problems that might be at the root of the problem. Several sessions may be required as part of the treatment process.

Some remedial treatments may seem uncomfortable at the beginning, such as deep tissue massage and trigger point relief, but they have a specific end result. If there’s a certain physical ailment you’re looking to pinpoint, an appropriate remedial massage is your best bet.

Relaxation massages are just as they’re described – a way to relax and recover from whatever life has been throwing at you lately. If remedial massages are primarily for physical fitness, think of a relaxation massage as its mental fitness counterpart.

Relaxation massages use comforting and soothing techniques to stimulate the body, and can release positive hormones such as dopamine and endorphins. They are available at day spas or retreats, and are an excellent way of practising self-care or celebrating special occasions.

Finding a qualified therapist

It’s important to choose a qualified massage therapist, but necessary credentials can vary according to employers or the type of massage being given.

For remedial massages, therapists should have at least a Diploma of Remedial Massage and be thoroughly educated in various remedial techniques.  Just as you wouldn’t want to be treated by a doctor without a degree in medicine, you want your remedial therapist to be properly qualified in the specific area they practice.

Relaxation massage therapists should also have some basic massage education and hold a Certificate IV to be competent in ‘feel good’ massage.

Therapists at beauty parlours or day spas will be trained in massage techniques. But they generally don’t require degrees or certificates.

Cost difference

The cost of a massage can vary greatly depending on where you go, what kind of massage you get, and the length of the treatment.

Some health insurance policies will contribute towards the cost of a remedial massage. However, to claim benefits, most insurers will require the therapist holds the Diploma of Remedial Massage (as a minimum) and be registered with the Australian Regional Health Group. Health insurers are unlikely to pay health benefits for relaxation massage by a therapist with the Certificate IV in Massage Therapy.

It’s a good idea to check with your insurer for any other requirements to claim remedial massage benefits.


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Category: HealthWellness


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Article by: Defence Health