What Is the Difference Between a Medical Massage Practitioner & a Licensed Massage Practitioner?

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If you are looking to get a massage, you may stumble upon two terms associated with professional massage practitioners. A medical massage practitioner and a licensed massage practitioner both offer massages for clients, but the goal of each type of massage differs. The two massage types also differ in terms of treatment techniques and getting an appointment with a practitioner.

Licensed Massage Practitioner

A licensed massage practitioner is legally allowed to perform massage services such as deep tissue, relaxation and aromatherapy massages for clients. The licensed masseuse uses her hands, hot stones, damp towels and scented oils to provide a relaxed massage and atmosphere for clients. The main goal of this type of massage is to promote relaxation, relax tense muscles or simply treat the body.

Medical Massage Practitioner

A medical massage practitioner works with clients and athletes to diagnose and treat muscle problems or provide treatment for conditions affecting a person’s health. Medical massages may require a prescription from a doctor who finds that medical massage is a suitable treatment option. According to the Medical Massage Practitioners of America, a medical massage is often billed in 15-minute increments and some treatments are covered by insurance plans.

Differences in Treatments and Goals

The goal of medical massage is to diagnose and treat tight muscles, treat soft tissues, deactivate trigger points for muscle issues, headaches and nerve pain. Inflammation and pain are also treated through medical massages. A relaxation massage offered by a licensed massage practitioner has the goal of relaxing muscles and providing relaxation in a stress-free environment. The goal of relaxation massages is also to improve posture, especially by treating back muscles and shoulders.

Certification

A medical massage practitioner must be certified to operate in the United States, whereas a licensed massage practitioner follows more loose guidelines. While some states require all massage workers to be certified, others only require certification if the massage therapist plans to open a massage parlor or clinic. Medical massage therapists are certified through the Medical Massage Practitioners of America, whereas recreational massage therapists can be certified through the American Massage Therapy Association.

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