Medical-Focused or Spiritual-Focused Massage

medical massage

What’s the Difference Between Medical-Focused Massage versus Spiritual-Focused Massage

When anyone talks about massage school, there is almost always a discussion of the East vs. West mentality. As a healthcare practice, massage has its roots in the Eastern portion of the world (more specifically, China), but it has recently been adopted by more and more Western countries like the United States. Overall, Eastern modalities tend to be associated with the more spiritual components and properties of massage, while Western modalities are based more in science-based techniques.

 Which is Better?

Although the answer to this question will vary depending on who you ask, the truth is that both types of massage have their own set of benefits. Medical-focused massage is all about manipulating the muscular tissues of the body to relieve pain and soreness. Spiritual massage taps into a belief that the energies of the body can be manipulated as well as the muscles, leading to an improved body-mind-spirit connection.

Both of these approaches can be beneficial, and massage therapists who specialize in either one can look forward to a successful career. Your employment opportunities will, of course, vary depending on your focus. Medical massage will be more likely to lead to careers in sports centers, therapist offices, and in healthcare centers. Spiritual-focused massage tends to lead to careers in holistic centers, specialized clinics, and in spas that cater to this kind of clientele.

 Types of Spiritual-Focused Massage

Most types of spiritual massage are governed by the concept of qi (chi), or the body’s natural energy. Massage is used to help the flow of this energy and to restore balance to the body. Common variations of this concept include:

Types of Medical-Focused Massage

Most types of medical massage use the foundations of anatomy and physiology to understand how the body feels pain—and how to eliminate the pain through the use of touch. Although it isn’t 100 percent accepted by the medical community, massage is growing in importance among many traditional care providers. Common modalities include:

The best massage therapy schools offer a combination of both Eastern and Western massage techniques. Not only are all these types of massage covered on the national certification exam, but knowing them allows you to diversify what you can offer to your clients and help you build a well-rounded massage practice.


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