Interested in remedial massage and myotherapy as a profession? Read on to learn more.

The accepted definition of remedial massage has it being the assessment and treatment of muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissues to assist in rehabilitation, and pain and injury management.

The premise behind remedial massage suggests that it can reasonably reverse certain physical effects, such as structural pain, diminished function and can balance muscle and soft tissue length, tension and tone.

This in turn promotes the return to a normal position (joint, bone, capsular) and increases the flow of both blood and lymph, particularly in injured areas, and thus removes damaged cells, scar tissue and adhesions.

Massage works across various body systems through either a mechanical or a reflex action.

A mechanical action is created by moving muscles and soft tissues using pressure and stretching movement, breaking down fibrous tissue, eliminating muscle spasms, and loosening stiff joints; a reflex is created when treating one area of the body impacts another area, as in easing a headache by working on the neck and shoulders.

What is myotherapy?

Remedial massage is a component of myotherapy training, and the primary tool a clinical myotherapist uses.

However, myotherapists use additional methods to restore normal musculoskeletal function, including muscle and joint taping, myofascial cupping, thermal therapies, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), electric muscle stimulation, low-level laser therapy, ultrasound, prescriptive exercises, joint mobilisation and pain-management techniques.

“For remedial massage, the minimum qualification required is a Diploma of Remedial Massage, and for Myotherapy, the Advanced Diploma of Myotherapy,” says Tricia Hughes, CEO, Massage and Myotherapy Australia.

“There are now Bachelor degrees in myotherapy, which are built on the foundations of these vocational courses. Prospective students need to consider that if they buy a cheap course, they’ll get cheap training. Research the colleges and compare their offerings and expect to be 12 months in training.

“If you anticipate working with clients who want private health rebates, obtain written confirmation from the college that they meet the funds’ standards. And because both are hands-on practice, the less online learning the better.

A man practising remedial massage or myotherapy on a woman's back

“Business skills seem to be the hardest to master as therapists just want to touch and assist people get well,” adds Hughes.

“However, if you lack sound business skills your business won’t be sustainable. Use an accountant, lawyer, marketer or business advisor. Listen and take advice. In any industry or profession there can be a lot of ego, bias and empty promises, so find a mentor who can help you.

To prepare for life as a practitioner, I advise mastering technology. Cyber risks are rampant, and you’re dealing with people’s personal information, which can be easily stolen. Ethical practice and behaving professionally should start on day one of training.

“Listening and communication skills are essential, as well as integrity and respect for learning how to treat people. People who are solution-focused and detail orientated, and have compassion and empathy, work well in this industry.

Therapists need to have patience and be consistent when treating people from diverse backgrounds. This career is not suited to those who are overly sympathetic or emotionally fragile or unfit, as this can lead to injury and burnout.”

For further information on similar areas of study and career paths, please see our other guides:

Osteopathy

Reflexology

Careers in Natural Medicine

Nutritional Medicine

And if you are interested in massage equipment, you might like to take a look at our comprehensive guide to massage guns.