Remedial Massage Queenstown – By Body Sanctum

Everything you need to know about Remedial Massage: An Interview with Body Sanctum Remedial Massage Therapist, Dani Buxton

Body Sanctum would like to introduce our expanded offering; a Remedial Massage Clinic, specialising in Remedial Massage and Remedial Therapies including Orthopaedic Cupping, Dry Needling and TMJ.

To introduce everything you need to know about Remedial Massage, we interviewed our newest recruit, remedial massage therapist Dani; a qualified physiotherapist who holds a masters degree in Orthopaedic Manual Therapy, Dani has also completed advanced training in Kinetic control, Shiley Sahrmann: movement impairment syndromes, dry needling and pain management.


Q: “Ok Dani, so let’s start with the basics. What is remedial massage?”

A – Dani: “Remedial massage is targeted to a specific problem or problems, making it more precise.This means that I have to ask some questions about how you injured yourself, when it happened, the pain pattern, and while I’m massaging you I may even ask where your pain is exactly or which movement aggravates it, in order to give me an idea of which muscles I have to work through. It’s similar to deep tissue in the sense that we use more pressure than a typical relaxation massage, but I also incorporate some trigger point therapy into the treatments. I might even suggest getting Dry Needling or Cupping done.

If someone tells me that their back is sore, I won’t massage the full body. The reason for this is that instead of rushing through the full body, I spend that time focusing on the specific problem areas. Having said that, I don’t just work on the back for the full time either. I’ll work on, for example, the glutes as well, as they are often involved in the pain whether as a cause or effect of the issue. Then after the massage, unlike a relaxation massage, because of my physio background, I will give my client exercises and aftercare advice. That’s because you won’t improve if you don’t have exercises to help stretch and strengthen. Exercises will also help you adjust your incorrect muscle memory and adapt the correct use and movement, therefore building new muscle memory. The important part is that the exercises are done repetitively so you break your ‘bad’ habit.”


Q: “So you probably get this a lot, but you said earlier that remedial massage is similar to deep tissue. So, what is the difference between deep tissue massage and remedial massage?”

Dani: “A big difference between remedial massage and deep tissue massage, is that in a remedial massage the focus is result driven. You have a pain or problem that we are trying to fix. This means that the treatment will be different and perhaps less ‘relaxing.’ You may, for example, be asked as a client to do some work during the massage such as helping stretch or moving the part of your body that is being worked on. It also will involve different types of techniques such as trigger point therapy, active release, dry needling, cupping, and TMJ treatments. Remedial massage is often suggested by physios as a complementary treatment in a long term plan. ”


Q: “So when you say remedial massage is result driven, what should I expect from a remedial treatment?”

Dani: “Let’s say you’ve booked in for an hour and would like a full body massage. I can’t do a full body remedial massage in an hour that also works on the pain or problems that you are experiencing. Most people who book in understand that if you give me your back as the main problem, I can put my focus on that and the surrounding areas affected for the hour. An easy way to look at it (although this does vary from client to client and we would discuss during your consultation) is as follows:

  • 30 & 45 minute sessions: One spot can be worked on.
  • 60 minute session: Expect about 3 areas of the body to be worked on.
  • 90 minute session: Typically 4-5 areas of the body can be worked on.
  • 120 minute session: Full body massage that can be all remedial or a combination of both remedial and relaxation.”


Q: “And what can I expect for pressure from a remedial massage?”

Dani: “You’re going to feel the pressure, it shouldn’t be a bad pain but it will be ‘noticeable’. What this means is that the saying of no pain, no gain, is wrong. Yes, you will definitely feel the pressure, but rather it should ‘hurt so good’, not ‘hurt so bad’. Especially when I include trigger point therapy, you will feel it. It may even trigger something called referred pain. This means that when I put pressure on a trigger point on one area of your body, you may feel pain in another part. For example, a trigger point in your shoulder could give you the feeling of a headache or it might radiate into the back of your eyes.”


Q: “Is trigger point therapy the only deeper pressure treatment you would do during a remedial massage?”

Dani: “No. If I treat a trigger point I will hold the pressure for a few seconds up to a minute. The massage itself will be deeper pressure but with a flowing movement as well as other techniques such as active release and stretching.” 


Q: “What do you mean by stretching during the remedial massage?”

Dani: “During the massage, I may put you into both active and passive stretching positions. Active stretching is when you are helping to move your muscles into the stretch, and passive stretch is when you are relaxed and you let the massage therapist put you into the stretch. Sometimes stretches are used before the therapist massages a muscle because it helps loosen it up and allows the therapist to work deeper into the muscle fibres. For example, I may stretch the quad when you are laying face down before you turn onto your back and I begin massaging it.”


Q: “So if I have a tight quadricep you just stretch and massage the quad?”

Dani: “Not quite. With muscles, you are working with protagonist and antagonist muscles. You have a main muscle that does the work and you always have another muscle that does the opposite work. A great example pair are the hamstring and the quad. If you don’t loosen up one, the other won’t work as effectively and will get tight over time as an effect. Stretching during the massage allows both muscles to be loosened up.”


Q: “That makes sense! Is that what you mean when you say you need to stretch after your massage?”

Dani: “Partially. Although there are other things you need to do to help your body recover after your massage.”


Q: “What else do you have to do as aftercare post remedial massage?”

Dani: “The four main things I emphasise after a remedial massage are strengthening exercises, stretches, using myofascial and massage balls, and drinking water..

Strengthening exercises: You want to use the right muscle for the right work. If a muscle is strong enough, it won’t build up as much tension and will be strong enough to work the way it is meant to. This in turn avoids overcompensation of other muscles and trains the correct muscle to do the majority of the work it’s meant to do – helping to avoid injury. However, oftentimes our muscles aren’t doing this correctly, so that is why you should do strengthening exercises after your treatment. This is especially important with injuries because we often overcompensate or lose muscle mass due to lack of use (muscular dystrophy). Additionally, strengthening exercises can also give you a better understanding of the way your body and muscles should be functioning. Something we don’t often think about and may not actually know!

Stretches: Doing stretches after your treatment is important because it will change your sensitivity to your pain threshold, calm your body and mind, which in return improves your movement and range of motion. A muscle that is stretchable can work more effectively. To lengthen the muscle, stretching exercises need to be done regularly and over a long period of time. Another benefit of having more flexibility is that you can bring your muscle into a pre-stretching position. This in return helps the muscle to perform with more energy, more power and more strength. The more capacity and the looser your muscles, the less chance of injury, because your range of movement will be higher giving your muscle a better reaction to an activity. Additionally, stretching also increases circulation, which in turn increases the exchange of nutrition and oxygen, which keeps your tissue healthy. 

Myofascial Balls and Massage Balls: A myofascial ball helps loosen up the connective tissue between your skin and muscle. The looser it is, the more movement you have. A massage ball on the other hand is a tool you can use to pin down the muscle and stretch it out for a deeper stretch and self massage. They both have different intentions and help keep your tissue healthy and functioning well.

Water: You’ve all heard it. Drink lots of water after a massage. But why should you drink water after a massage? Firstly, our body consists of 60-70% of water, which is vital for every little function. So if you aren’t hydrated enough, your muscles won’t get enough oxygen or nutritions to recover. Secondly, with massage, we activate the kidney, digestive system (this is why your belly always grumbles during the massage!) and bladder (which is why we often need to go to the toilet after a massage). Your kidney needs water in order to flush out the toxins, which will go out in the form of urine. Our liver, which helps to detoxicate the body, needs enough water in our system to function properly. Additionally, we have also released lactic acid and other metabolic waste into your body. So by drinking water, you will then stay hydrated, which aids in flushing that waste out via your bladder. If you don’t drink enough water after a massage, you oftentimes will feel dizzy and more sore the next day than if you had drank enough water. When I say sore, I mean a similar soreness as the day after going to the gym. Soreness after a massage isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but drinking water and stretching will prevent you from being too sore.”


Q: “Wow Dani, thank you so much! I can’t believe there’s so much behind remedial massage that I never knew!”

Dani: “No problem. I’m also always happy to answer questions if anyone is unsure when booking as well. Just email or we can discuss during your consultation. I always want to set people’s expectations correctly so they can benefit the most from the massage. Something to remember when you book in for a remedial massage is you may be sore straight after receiving the massage, and extend for 2-3 days after. But the long-term benefits will leave you feeling better!”



*We offer discounted rates to locals, just give us a call or email us to get your loyalty account set up for free!

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