Medical Clinical Massage vs a Spa Wellness Massage

Medical Clinical Massage vs a Spa Wellness Massage? -What Is The Difference

Medical Clinical Massage vs a Spa Wellness Massage. This is going to be our area of discussion today. So let me begin by asking you do you incorporate massage therapy into your lifestyle as part of your health and wellness maintenance? If you do or even if you don’t presently do so.


My next question to you is do you know and understand the difference between the different types, categories or modalities of massages there are? If you answered NO then that’s ok, because I am going to help you in this post to understand what is the difference between two specific categories or modalities of massages, this being Medical Clinical Massage and a Spa Wellness Massage. So let’s begin.

Massage therapy has been proven by modern science to effectively treat several different conditions that plague our everyday life. Conditions such as back pain, sciatica, piriformis syndrome, strains/sprains, shoulder impingement, headaches, fibromyalgia, arthritis, TMJ dysfunction, plantar fasciitis stroke, neurological conditions and many more can all be effectively treated.


Massage therapy as such benefits more than just disorders and dysfunction of the human body. Some of the benefits of the application of massage therapy include reducing stress levels (cortisol) and an increase in serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, reduce chronic pain and swelling, increase circulation, improve lymphatic drainage, improvement with sleep, and decrease in blood pressure and the list goes on, etc.


Therefore whether it is a medical “clinical” massage or spa “wellness” massage you seek all professional massage has therapeutic value. And that’s the truth.

The differentiating factor however that sets these two types of massages apart from each other is the “focus” but as I said before there are therapeutic benefits that can be gained from both. So one is not better than the other. It just depends on the need of the individual.


 It is also important to understand that the type of modality that is practiced, whether it is Swedish, Myofacial Release, Deep Tissue, Neuromuscular Facilitation, Sports, Trigger Point Therapy, or Lymphatic Drainage, in no way puts a massage modality or category over another. A spa massage therapist and a medical or clinical massage therapist can, and do, practice all types of modalities in both industries.


In a spa massage setting, the therapist or spa practitioner’s ultimate focus during a massage is centered or revolves solely around relaxation, self-pampering, and satisfying the client in those regards. The session is often intuitive and compassionate.


The environment is private and often includes putting the client at ease. Attention to detail is paid to things such as music, ambiance, luxuries and feel, aromatherapy, and scent, etc. The modalities or techniques used can include either Swedish, aromatherapy, body scrub massage, and hot stone.

Whereas on the other hand in a medical or clinical massage the ultimate focus is on functional outcomes meaning the focus is on reducing pain and increasing physical function or mobility. Results must be measurable and the client’s true results are often not assessed until the completion of a number of treatments or the achievement of a specific therapeutic outcome.


The goal of medical or clinical massage is to help with the treatment of conditions such as muscular pain, injuries, postural patterns, strains/sprains, headaches, back pain, piriformis syndrome, sciatica, fibromyalgia, arthritis, etc.

As such medical or clinical massages can be practiced privately by an individual therapist but is often practiced in team-based settings that include colleagues such as physical therapists, chiropractors, occupational therapists, acupuncturists, orthopedics, and psychologists.


It may also include more advanced modalities or techniques within a treatment such as myofascial release, deep tissue, joint mobilization, neuromuscular techniques, and lymphatic drainage, etc. In an initial visit for a medical or clinical massage, the therapist will usually conduct a medical consultation and thorough examination of the current condition or injury.


These are vital steps to ensure the therapist is able to make an educated decision about the most effective treatment. Therefore the goal of massage therapy is to administer hands-on treatment (manual therapy) whether it be for relaxation or to address pain or a specific muscular condition or injury. Therefore whichever the modality the end result will be achieved.

Massage therapy as such is recognized as a health care allied and tool. Therefore whichever your need be whether it is for relaxation or to address a specific condition, pain, or injury. It could be the start to your path of self-wellness and recovery.


Hope this was of help to you and if you have any questions feel free to connect with me, I and will be happy to help you with whatever concerns or questions you may have.

Patricia is a certified orthopedic massage therapist, behavioral preceptor and business mentor. She has been practicing massage therapy and holistic wellness since 2017. She also holds a bachelor's degree in Behavioral Science with an emphasis in Psychology. Patricia has been in the Health & Wellness fields for approximately 6 years and 6 years respectively in sales. Patricia has worked with a wide scope of persons, ranging from Olympic athletes, international dancers, entrepreneurs, office workers, and professionals, as well as paraplegics, stroke patients, and those who have issues with neurological and musculoskeletal issues. Patricia's mandate is to help people to change their health destiny and to help them to understand, align and uncover who they truely are at the core from the lens of how God made them and sees them.

2 thoughts on “Medical Clinical Massage vs a Spa Wellness Massage? -What Is The Difference”

  1. Thanks for such a nice post about the “Difference between Medical Clinical Massage and a Spa Wellness Massage”! This post is really very informative. I really appreciate your efforts. Thank you so much for helping !!

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