• Becky Tolputt

What is a Remedial Massage?

I recently went to a wonderful drinks party which two of my regular clients also attended, there was a man (lets call him Dave!) who when he found out what I did said he suffers from a pain in his shoulder blade. Dave has had treatments in the past but has found it very painful during the treatments and sore for a long time afterwards which put him off.

-We all hear of those stories of people going to see a therapist and how they were biting the towel and lets face it, it is not enjoyable and can feel like you are being tortured.

My lovely client said that my remedial treatments are different as I don't believe in the "no pain no gain" approach.

-This is absolutely true and is always my approach in a remedial massage - right or wrong this was the way I was taught and I have always found that less is always more with remedial work, that my clients get a better result and instant relief.

Anyway after chatting to Dave about how I can help him it got me thinking about how to explain what I do as a remedial therapist.

If I have a new client and they ask me what is the difference between remedial massage and a holistic/Swedish massage I always say " remedial work isn't a particularly relaxing treatment but is a great treatment for targeted pain relief."

The consultation and Pain Scale

After an initial consultation, a discussion about your muscular issues etc. and what will happen during the treatment your treatment will start.

If this is your first treatment then I will always discuss working to a pain scale. The pain scale ensures that I do not work above what is comfortable for YOU!

Everyone is different, I can often feel areas of tension and those horrible sore points but what pressure suits you is completely different to the next person. Obviously there will be areas of slight discomfort when I am working on a sore spot but it should feel like its releasing the area and not something that is making you wince, tense or worse case scenario bite the couch! I often liken the pain as the one you get when you get a nasty itchy bite which when you itch feels good and reduces the itch - Strange I know but it is an analogy which we can all relate to!

Using the pain scale also ensures that you leave feeling perhaps slightly sore (like you have been to the gym) for a few days but able to move and stretch making easier for you to continue with your rehab exercises and to recover quickly.

What is a Remedial Massage?

My treatments will often consist of deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy (NMT), muscular energy technique (MET), soft tissue release (STR), myofascial release (MFR), ultrasound, dry needles, myofascial cupping and kinesiology taping.


The treatment provides the body a way to heal damage muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia. Often more than one session is needed to fully recover but relief after just one session is often instant. I often provide my clients with various stretching, tips and ways to maintain the massage in between treatments.

Remedial work has a more precise approach than a Swedish massage, it has a firmer pressure and is/can be more intense than a Swedish massage (hence working on a pain scale!) Remedial therapists work on the cause of the issue as well as the symptom.

- Going back to Dave and his sore shoulder blade, not only would his back, head neck and shoulders have treatment (which are his symptoms) but so would for example his glutes, pecs, feet, ankles and legs which can often be the cause and will be involved in his treatment at some point.

I often refer to working on the body as a whole, you see the body often works as a sling (left ankle, right knee, left glute, right shoulder and viceversa) one tight bit of fascia or an issue with a muscle in the lower part of the body can sometimes affect the opposite shoulder.


Often during a session you are not always laying on your stomach or back but laying side-line, sat on the edge of the couch (insert the not very relaxing quote here!) I love to apply stretching and movement during treatments which has given me some fantastic results with poor range of movement and reduction in pain.

- I must point out that I like to describe my treatments as organic, I often start with a plan but the one thing I have learnt is although I have looked at a clients posture and can often see that certain areas are tight its not until I have worked and felt an area that I will change my approach. A great example is if the fascia will not release then perhaps with your permission I will use the myofascial cups. Hence my description of my treatments are organic, they change and evolve as the body releases and relaxes or not during a treatment.

My remedial massage treatments are tailored for each person, everyone is different and although Dave has that nagging shoulder pain his treatment will differ from someone else's.

Remedial Massage Benefits

  • During the remedial massage the fatigued muscles produces more oxygen and blood flow to the area due to the stimulation of the circulatory system. The circulatory system works closely with the lymphatic system, together they can reduce pain, swelling and increase lymphatic flow.

  • Stretching the tight muscles, relaxing and releasing overused muscles, reducing spasms and muscular cramping.

  • Reduction of scar tissue, adhesions (knots), sore spots, aches and pains

  • Remedial massage can increase joint range of motion and assist in increasing joint strength and stabilisation

Massage stimulates the endocrine system and increases the bodies level of serotonin and dopamine. These hormones improve your mood, aids relaxation and helps to reduce pain. In turn this can reduce anxiety. The bodies production of cortisol is produced when we are stressed and are in pain which can be significantly reduced during a remedial massage.

Remedial treatments are ideal for theses and many more issues:

  • Lower back pain

  • Sciatica

  • Headaches and migraines

  • Neck and shoulder issues

  • Tennis and golfers elbow

  • Planta fasciitis

  • Leg strains

  • Tension

  • Whiplash

  • Painful knots

  • Poor range of movement

  • Muscular spasms and cramps

  • Anxiety, Depression and Insomnia

I am yet to see Dave as a client (it has only been four days since I met him!) it often takes people sometime to work up to booking an appointment. Many people will try to live with pain for a long time before seeking help which is normally their GP and will take meds before seeking help from a remedial therapist. Massage is sadly for many the last treatment to try.

If you have read to the end of this epic blog then thank you!

Please note:

Remedial massage doesn't replace advice from your GP and if your symptoms change for the worse then its best to seek medical advice!

Pop to the website for further info www.beckytolputtmassagetherapy.co.uk

Hope to see you soon