“Homecare” is a word you may have heard at some point, but it is not always common practice in a massage therapy setting and therefore, its importance is not necessarily well known.
Let’s begin by defining what homecare actually is. Homecare, when provided by a qualified massage therapist, is a set of targeted exercises and/or stretches that are typically given to the client at the end of treatment with the expectation they will be performed at home.
Sweet! Now that we know what homecare is, why is it important?
Like chiropractors, physiotherapists, nutritionists, and many more health care professionals, massage therapists utilize homecare as a tool to contribute to a client’s progression or initiate change in the bodily function of the individual after he/she/they leave(s) their appointment.
Significant to note is that homecare is not necessarily ‘just exercising’. For example, let’s say you are at an appointment with a nutritionist. During the appointment you will probably talk about your goals and what you are currently doing to achieve those goals. Based on all these goals, a nutritionist will create a catered eating plan for you to follow at home. Without proper follow-through on the eating plan — your homecare — your goal will not be achieved so easily. This example illustrates why homecare is such an important part of your health care journey!
But how does homecare relate to massage? Well, let’s talk a little about both the training of massage therapists and the limited effects of massage therapy.
In most schools, massage therapists learn all about the anatomy and physiology* of the body. We also learn about utilizing certain techniques and how different pressures can have different impacts on the body. Although this education should result in a better, more tailored massage, the limitations of massage remain; the main one being how long the benefits last.
Typically, the benefits of massage last for a couple of days to a week at most. We feel good and then it fades. If you wanted to experience those benefits continuously, you would have to get a treatment a couple times a week but in reality, this is not practical financially or timewise. Again, why homecare helps you extend the benefits of the massage until your next treatment.
Lastly, you may be asking, how do we determine what homecare to assign to our clients?
Many factors go into choosing which exercises and stretches we give you. Everything from your goals to personal time restraints to any physical limitations you may have to what we have observed during assessment, etc. All play a part, but as always, our goal as your therapist is to help you progress — not to overwhelm you. If something isn’t clear, feels uncomfortable/causes pain, or doesn’t work, tell us. Remember: massage is part of YOUR health journey and we want to help you get the most out of every treatment!
*Anatomy can be defined as the structures of the body while physiology is the way those structures function.