- Karen Stoner, LMT
Massage Tips and Trivia: Massage vs. Doctors
"Massage has many medical benefits, but should never be used in place of medical advice from a doctor."
Massage therapists are constantly advertising the health benefits of massage therapy. From improving mental health through relaxation and self-care, to the physical benefits of reduced muscle tension, faster healing of injuries, increased circulation, lower blood pressure, etc, massage does have a lot of benefits for the body. However, your massage therapist is not a doctor. If you have an illness or medical condition, it can get frustrating seeing doctors and being treated like a number, however massage should never take the place of seeing a doctor and keeping up with regular medical treatments. For example: while massage may lower blood pressure, your massage therapist can't tell you if your high blood pressure meds are working, or if you need to stop taking them. If your wrist is horribly sore, black and blue, and swollen after you fell on the ice, massage can help with swelling, but they can't tell you if it is broken, and you probably should get an x-ray before getting a massage anyway.
Massage therapists can not diagnose or prescribe anything. We can tell you what we find and make recommendations, but even then if we find or suspect something is wrong, we will usually encourage you to see a doctor or other medical professional if something more is needed. Massage therapists actually work very well alongside medical professionals. Many doctors and medical professionals are wary of massage, and still see it as a luxury, and don't really recommend it as a medical treatment other than "something to help you relax" or as a "last resort" (they often feel threatened by recommending something that actually might help you as much as, if not more than, their prescriptions - plus there are differing levels of attention that therapists give to their clients depending on their training, specialties, and location), however many others will work with massage therapists, sharing important information that can help you get the most out of your healing and treatment journey. All medical professionals - both medical and holistic - working together gives you the best chance of healing and maintaining health, but one should never be a substitute for the other.