Orthopedic Massage (OM) Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca

Orthopedic Massage (OM) is a type of manual therapy that focuses on the treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal dysfunction and pain.
Orthopedic Massage (OM) at Rikt PRO Massage

Orthopedic Massage (OM) is a type of manual therapy that focuses on the treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal dysfunction and pain. In addition to treating specific injuries, OM is used to increase the range of motion, decrease and manage pain and restore normal body movement and function.

Orthopedic massage therapy is a particular kind of massage, focused on soft-tissue injury rehabilitation. Goals for an orthopedic massage session typically include decreasing pain, increasing the range of motion, and preparing the body to return to normal daily routines and active hobbies. It bears similarities to other types of massage, such as sports massage, but it is its own specific, results-oriented massage modality. Read on to find out what orthopedic massage is, how it differs from other types of massage, and who it is best suited to help.

What is Orthopaedic massage?

Orthopedic massage focuses on the tissues and muscles surrounding the joints of the body. While it aims to alleviate the source of bodily pain and tension, orthopedic massage also works to restore balance to these physical structures. Orthopedic massage is a type of injury rehabilitation that focuses on the muscles and soft tissues surrounding joints. The aim of orthopedic massage is to relieve pain while restoring balance to the tissues and creating a fuller range of motion.

Typically, soft tissue pain and injury are what initially draw a client in to see a massage therapist who specializes in orthopedic massage. This pain could be post-surgical pain, pain from an acute injury, or pain from overuse strain due to a repetitive motion from an activity like tennis, hockey, or jogging. Whatever the cause of the muscle damage, the intent of the orthopedic massage is to lengthen and soften the muscles and ligaments, permitting a better range of motion for the affected joints.

Neuromuscular therapy will feel painful at first, but the pressure of the massage should alleviate the muscle spasm. At this point, it is extremely important to communicate with the massage therapist regarding the pressure – whether the pressure is too much, too little, getting better, or getting worse. Neuromuscular therapy uses soft tissue manipulation to help improve nervous system function and the overall function and alignment of the skeletal system. Using static pressure, neuromuscular therapists place a consistent amount of pressure on a specific area of the body, helping to reduce pain and tension effectively.

What is the difference between deep tissue massage and neuromuscular massage?
Deep Tissue massages are mainly sought when the client is under stress and wants to relax, or when muscles are tight from workouts and immobility and are typically scheduled on an “as needed” basis. … Neuromuscular Therapy is sought because of the necessity for pain treatment, not as a treat for sore muscle.
What are the four primary components of orthopedic massage?
  • Orthopedic Assessment: …
  • Matching the physiology of the injury with the physical effects of the treatment: …
  • Treatment adaptability: …
  • Understanding the rehabilitation process:

Who invented orthopedic massage?

James Waslaski pioneered the orthopedic massage techniques used today. He combined his paramedic, trauma center, and pre-med experience with his massage training to create a pain-free orthopedic massage.
Can massage therapists massage hips?
Keeping your hip rotators flexible supports your spine and helps prevent injuries. Massaging the muscles involved in hip rotation can help reduce tightness. A number of specific conditions causing lower back, hip, and leg pain may respond well when treated with therapeutic massage.
What is a pain relief massage?
Therapeutic massage may relieve pain by way of several mechanisms, including relaxing painful muscles, tendons, and joints; relieving stress and anxiety; and possibly helping to “close the pain gate” by stimulating competing nerve fibers and impeding pain messages to and from the brain.
What is the difference between a massage therapist and a clinical massage therapist?
During a spa visit, you typically enjoy a Swedish Massage that’s often a more basic routine provided for your full-body relaxation. However, during a clinical massage, a professional may use a broader set of modalities, such as Trigger Point Therapy or Myofascial Release, as a means to assist muscle recovery.
Why is Swedish massage good for you?
Swedish massage therapy is the most well-known and widely practiced type of therapeutic massage—and for good reason. This type of massage focuses on muscle relaxation, targeting superficial muscles (rather than the connective tissues targeted in deep-tissue massage) and increasing blood circulation.
What is the difference between deep tissue and sports massage?
Deep tissue massage is often administered as a full body massage, rather than focusing on a specific area of the body. Sports massage, on the other hand, is a targeted massage approach that focuses on specific areas of the body that are in need of healing or relief.
What is the best massage for chronic pain?
Trigger point massage is best suited for people who have injuries, chronic pain, or a specific issue or condition. Sometimes, areas of tightness in the muscle tissues, known as trigger points, can cause pain in other parts of the body. By focusing on relieving trigger points, this type of massage can reduce pain.
What is a trigger point massage?
Massage Therapy. Trigger points are sore, painful spots—also called knots—found in muscles. These knots are sensitive and when pressure is applied, it produces pain in a different part of your body. A trigger point massage helps work out those knots and reduce the pain associated with them.
Are medical massages worth it?
Massage benefits can include: Reducing stress and increasing relaxation. Reducing pain and muscle soreness and tension. Improving circulation, energy, and alertness.
What is the difference between massage and medical massage?
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. It includes specific follow-up recommendations.
What is medical massage called?
It is also known as clinical massage or treatment massage. There are many massage schools and programs that teach medical massage as a technique. Though medical massage is any massage treatment used to treat specific medical conditions, there is no one technique that is medical-massage.
What is the purpose of medical and clinical massage?
It is a movement-based manual therapy that helps restore range of motion, break up scar tissue, release muscle adhesions, increase blood flow and reduce chronic and acute pain.
Which is better Swedish or deep tissue?
Swedish massage is gentler than deep tissue massage and better suited for people interested in relaxation and tension relief. Swedish massage may loosen up tight muscles caused by daily activities such as sitting at the computer or exercising.
What does fascia release feel like?
Some techniques can feel temporarily uncomfortable as the fascia is released and separated. It can feel burny, itchy, stingy, and prickly. However, these sensations pass quickly and the benefits can be felt as soon as the area is released.
Orthopedic Massage  (OM)
Orthopedic Massage  (OM)

What conditions are treated by orthopedic massage?

One common condition that’s treatable by orthopedic surgery is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear or rupture in the leg. ACL injuries are common among athletes and active individuals. The typical treatment for an ACL injury is a surgical procedure to graft the ligament back together. However, ACL surgery can lead to a  wide range of complications, including continued knee stiffness or weakness, and reduced range of motion. One alternative to ACL surgery is orthopedic massage. At least one study has shown orthopedic massage therapy to be a viable alternative to ACL surgery for pain relief and mobility restoration.

Orthopedic massage can also be used to treat surgery-induced tissue damage, such as after a knee repair surgery. Research shows that massage can be an effective method to speed recovery and limit pain following surgery.

Other conditions that can be improved by orthopedic massage include carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, whiplash, tendinitis, and plantar fasciitis.

While the main goal of orthopedic massage is to rehabilitate the affected tissues, the technique can also prevent future injuries.

How orthopedic massage differs from other types of massage

Orthopedic massage is a therapeutic style of massage, intended to achieve measurable results.

Orthopedic massage is designed to return joints to their normal range of function, as well as to reduce pain from joint movement.

Swedish massage is focused on overall relaxation, while deep tissue massage reduces deep muscle pain and strain.  Of course, all massage techniques can improve joint movement and function, but orthopedic massage is specifically intended to do so.

Orthopedic massage therapists must possess an extensive understanding of anatomy and how misalignment of the soft tissues can affect the musculoskeletal system and lead to pain and injury.

Orthopedic massage vs sports massage

Orthopedic Massage (OM) is a type of manual therapy that focuses on the treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal dysfunction and pain. Taping helps your recovery.

Orthopedic massage is similar to sports massage in many respects but is specifically aimed at recovery from certain medical conditions and injuries. In this way, it falls more under the umbrella of massage as preventative health care rather than solely complementary or alternative medicine.

While sports massage helps athletes to prepare their bodies for optimal performance and prevent injury, orthopedic massage uses alignment, pin, stretch, and release techniques to help clients recover from soft-tissue injuries and surgery.


Orthopedic massage is designed to return joints to their normal range of function, as well as to reduce pain from joint movement. Swedish massage is focused on overall relaxation, while deep tissue massage reduces deep muscle pain and strain. Useful for the treatment of soft tissue injuries that have occurred in muscle, fascia, joints, ligaments, and cartilage, and occasional bone involvement due to accidents, surgery, or illness.  Orthopedic Massage helps prevent and correct a variety of musculoskeletal disorders resulting in diminished pain and muscle tightness, improved posture, greater tissue function, and health. Treatments range from 30 minutes – to 2 hours depending on your particular issue and unique health history.

Experts have shown that massage helps patients after orthopedic surgery in both clinics and homes. In a study of 60 patients recovering from arthroscopic knee procedures, researchers found that massage therapy provided an affordable, safe, and effective alternative to prescription painkillers. These observers believe massage allowed patients’ parasympathetic nervous systems to respond by secreting endorphins.

Though orthopedic massage benefits patients with many symptoms and conditions, it has been shown to be particularly effective for certain physical injuries, including:

  • Back pain and spasms
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Knee pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Tennis and golfers’ elbows
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Tennis elbow
  • Sciatica
  • Bulging discs

Your Orthopedic Massage Session

Your practitioner will usually begin by talking with you to learn about your medical history and understand your treatment goals. The practitioner will then consider contributing factors and help you create and maintain a treatment plan. Your session will probably last an hour or more.

Your orthopedic massage practitioner will generally use a variety of soft-tissue techniques to loosen your muscles and tendons:

  • Active engagement – Practitioners use active engagement (or AE) to reach deep, hard-to-access muscles, treat overuse injuries, and assist clients with well-developed musculature. Your practitioner will compress your muscles, stroke them lengthwise, and apply perpendicular motion. It is of particular use for targeting specifically located muscle tightening injuries like whiplash and lumbar pain.
  • Muscle energy technique (MET) – Using this method, your practitioner provides resistance while you voluntarily contract certain muscles. MET can help reduce pain—especially back pain.
  • Myofascial release – Your skeletal muscles and connective tissues can be held in place by tight fascial tissues. To conduct these techniques, your practitioner will apply gentle pressure to your body to facilitate the stretching of the fascia.
  • Nerve mobilization techniques – Also called neural mobilization and neurodynamics, this method can improve nervous system function by identifying a strained nerve and locating its source of pain.
  • Positional release – This gentle treatment is safe for use on inflamed and painful tissues that are too sensitive for other methods. Your practitioner will manipulate your soft tissues into “positions of ease,” which can temporarily relieve your pain. By holding these tissues in the proper place for a minute or more, they may lengthen and soften, creating conditions for long-term pain and symptom relief.
  • PNF stretching – Properly called proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, this common clinical and sports rehabilitation therapy can increase your passive and active range of motion.
  • Trigger point therapy – Your practitioner will use elbows, knuckles, and fingers to put variable pressure on certain trigger areas. Short (10-30 second) intervals of this treatment (also known as neuromuscular therapy) release lactic acid and increase circulation.

Be sure to communicate with your practitioner both before and during your session. You will likely get better results if your therapist understands your pain level and tolerance. You can also help your therapist determine the exact location of your discomfort as they manipulate and stretch your related body parts. You can always pause or stop your massage therapy session if you experience overwhelming pain, discomfort, or emotional issues.

Your practitioner may suggest stretches or other self-care exercises you can use to extend the benefits of your therapy after the session. As with any other type of massage, be sure to rehydrate afterward, as your body will likely need to flush lactic acid and other toxins from your system.


more info at:


What is Orthopedic Massage? Techniques and Benefits

Orthopedic Massage Isn’t the Same as Medical Massage — Is It?

Therapeutic Swedish Massage, Sports Massage Therapy in Santa Barbara, Goleta

*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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