Medical Massage Benefits Widely Available Locally
The financial responsibility for medical massage varies, depending on local regulations.
In Germany, massage therapy is a standard part of health care, and many hospitals have spas on-site where postoperative and other patients are sent for recovery following procedures. In Washington state, regulations ensure that insurance companies pay medical massage therapists for their services.
Health insurance does not always cover medical massage in Georgia, but there are other options when seeking treatment. In personal injury cases, medical massage may be covered under auto insurance policies or workers compensation. Some companies offer a flexible spending account that covers massage therapy when recommended by a physician to treat a specific injury or trauma. Paying out of pocket can be tax-deductible, including mileage and transportation to and from appointments, if a physician documents that therapy is a necessary part of medical treatment.
Locally, physicians and other health practitioners prescribe massage therapy for their patients for a variety of reasons. Ruth Cochran, MS, LPC, a founding partner of InMind Collaborative, with five clinics in the Atlanta area, encourages clients to seek massage therapy for stress reduction, social isolation and body image challenges.
“Massage helps clients become more aware of and attuned to their bodies, which supports their ability to manage stress through simple things like mindful breathing and slowing the pace of their daily lives,” says Cochran. “It also helps clients to develop compassion for themselves, which leads to better self-care.”
Dr. Shoshana Kreinces, of Live Well Chiropractic, refers patients to a massage therapist for pain relief, increased circulation and restoring proper movement in joints.
”Massage therapy benefits nearly everyone,” says Kreinces. “Much like chiropractic care, massage is not a one-time experience. Benefits multiply with the frequency of sessions. The body has incredibly complex layers of muscle tissue, fascia and ligaments that store memory of both trauma and joy. Releasing the bound up energy by moving the tissues allows for transformative healing and restoration of mind and body.”
Harry Brewster, LMT, of Live Well Massage & Pilates, works with insurance cases in addition to clients that pay directly. He practices manual therapy techniques such as Swedish massage, neuromuscular therapy, deep tissue massage, acupressure, and myofascial release. Every person has a different set of circumstances, so he likes to use a variety of tools, or as he describes, “many colors on my paint palette.”
Brewster says the medical referrals he receives are usually for back injuries or whiplash. “After a series of therapeutic massage sessions restores the patient, they often return for more comforting work,” he notes. “Over time, defense mechanisms break down, pain lessens and abilities increase.”
He has found that common side effects of massage therapy include better sleep, better focus and concentration, decreased stress-related illness and a more positive outlook on life. “Massage brings a wave of healing that progresses as time goes on,” explains Brewster.
Harry Brewster, Live Well Massage & Pilates, 404-235-0995, 1035 Juniper St., Atlanta, Ga., 30309.
Atlanta-based Lucretia Robison has been a bodyworker for 20 years, and a licensed massage therapist since 2003.