What is remedial massage?


4 minutes

25 February 2022

A man receiving remedial massage therapy for his back and neck

Feeling sore? Here’s how remedial massage can help support your recovery from exercise, injury or illness.

Remedial massage is a natural therapy that aims to treat aches, pains and injuries to help the body repair and recover.1

It focuses on treating tense, damaged or knotted muscles and can help manage a number of health conditions, especially those affecting muscles, tendons and bones.1 

While relaxation massages are intended to be soothing, remedial massages aim to relieve pain – and they use specific techniques to do it.

So how could remedial massage help you, and what should you expect? Let's take a closer look.

In this article

What can remedial massage help with?

Remedial massage is commonly used to help people with:1

  • Neck, shoulder or back pain
  • Sports or other injuries (or preventing injuries) 
  • Headaches
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Fatigue
  • Treating side effects of some health conditions such as cancer or diabetes

Along with helping to treat specific problems, remedial massage can support your overall health and wellbeing. For example, it can help to:1

  • Stimulate blood flow
  • Improve joint mobility
  • Repair damaged tissues

Types of remedial massage

There are several different techniques a remedial massage therapist may use, such as:2

  • Deep tissue massage, which uses firm and flowing strokes to relieve pain. It’s common for a therapist to use their thumbs, knuckles or elbows for a deeper, more targeted massage.
  • Trigger point therapy, which alternates pressure with rest and deep breathing to ease tension. It’s often combined with deep tissue massage for the best results.
  • Stretch therapy, which involves stretching various areas of the body to help improve flexibility, circulation and range of motion.
  • Joint mobilisation, which targets specific problem joints to encourage movement to improve stiffness and pain.
  • Myofascial release, a specific, stretch-based massage technique applied to problem areas to help relieve pain.
  • Thermotherapy, which uses heated objects such as hot water bottles, heat packs and hot baths to relax muscles and improve blood flow.
  • Cryotherapy, which uses cooled objects such as cold compresses and ice packs to decrease blood flow, which reduces inflammation and the risk of tissue damage.

Choosing a remedial massage therapist

It’s important to choose a remedial massage therapist who is registered with an appropriate accrediting body so you know that they’re properly trained and qualified, with a good knowledge of anatomy and physiology. 

What to expect at your appointment

You don’t need a referral for a remedial massage. You can call and book an appointment at any time.

At your appointment, your remedial massage therapist will ask you a few questions about your health and what you’re seeking help with. This will help them to determine the best way to treat you.

Then they will ask you to lie down on a massage bed and ensure you’re comfortable. You will be covered with towels to protect your privacy.1

During your treatment, the pressure of the massage may be strong and deep, or gentle and shallow, depending on what’s being treated.1

Your therapist may use a number of different massage techniques. Remember, you can always ask questions if you want to understand more about what they’re doing and why.

Does health insurance cover remedial massage?

  • HBF remedial massage cover can pay benefits towards remedial massages performed by an approved provider, up to your annual limit.

If you’re an HBF member, you can check what you're covered for by logging on to myHBF or calling us on 133 423.

Rest up and recover with remedial massage cover

With great benefits for remedial massage, HBF extras will keep you well looked after.

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  1. 1Healthdirect – Remedial massage
  2. 2Australian Natural Therapists Association – Remedial massage therapy


This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.

^Annual limits and waiting periods apply. Percentage back benefits are payable for services, programs and providers approved by HBF, when provider charges in accordance with the Member Plus schedule fee. Excludes Basic Extras and closed products.