Why home massage?
Why do we get patients to supplement our care with massage at home? It's because most people with chronic (long standing) problems need more massage than they get from their professional. This is not due to some oversight by professionals. It's because there is usually too much to do given normal economic and time constraints.
Let me explain.
At our clinic we deal with a lot of patients with chronic (long standing) musculoskeletal problems, such as backs, necks, shoulders etc. etc. In addition to the type of care I provide, these conditions often need large amounts of massage type treatment.
Why? The patient's muscular and soft tissue issues are usually quite extensive and to deal with them effectively (rather than just provide temporary relief) usually requires regular massage over a long period of time. If each massage is extensive and it needs to be repeated a large number of times this can quickly add up to a lot of time and a lot of money.
What this means is unless you are someone with lots of spare time, cash and motivation you won't get all you need. It's a major reason why most patients never recover as they should, and one of the reasons most musculoskeletal problems tend to re-occur.
The solution? Getting patients to massage themselves
Some clinics use hand held massaging machines where the practitioner holds the massager in the right place and the machine does the work. They're quite effective and actually much faster than hands on massage.
Question: why does the practitioner need to hold it? Why not let the patient hold it. Better still, why not give the patient their own machine, show them where to use it, and let them do it at home.
It seemed so obvious but there was one problem. The "professional" machines like we use were very expensive (too much for most patients to buy) and were designed for practitioners to use on patients, not patients to use on themselves. The "consumer" machines like you buy in the shops were affordable and designed to use on oneself, but they were way short of the "professional" machines in power and effectiveness.
Despite that we implemented home massage the best we could for a couple of years using the best consumer massager we could find. We developed a system for empowering patients to help themselves and it was working well, but the company making the massagers we were using stopped making them and none of the others we found in the shops were effective enough. To continue helping patients the way we had been doing we needed to build our own machine.
Our own machines
Eventually the best compromise machines went off the market, and there was nothing we found available that we were even remotely happy with. In a situation like that you have to do the best thing by your patients, and that meant finding something to do the job. We brought a few massagers on line, then eventually found this amazing web site where you can find manufacturers for just about anything you want. If you type in "massagers" you find over 28,000 products. Most aren't available here in Australia. We learnt how to read manufacturer's specification sheets and so forth to shortlist potential machines, then paid several overseas manufacturers to send samples.
We'd test them, get patients to use them, pull them apart to see how well they were built, and even paid an electrical safety consultant to make sure they would give a lifetime of safe use. The good news is that in a sea of cheap plastic buzz boxes we did find a machine that apart from being let down by some poor quality workmanship and components was fundamentally a very good machine. Not only were they easy to use and effective enough to do exactly what our patients needed, but in my opinion they are actually more effective than the "professional" machines that cost five to ten times as much.
We negotiated with the factory to make a special run of these building them to a respectable standard. These were the original DrGraeme Deep Tissue Massagers. Then in 2010 were were able to do a major upgrade giving us the superb Deep Tissue massager we have now, and now we have a second model, our General Purpose Massager in the pipeline.
The system works on good advice
As long as a quality hand held massager is held in the correct spot for the correct amount of time it will do a great job, regardless of who's holding the handle. To get these results you'll need to watch our massager usage audiovisuals to learn the correct use of the massagers as a tool. Then you'll need to consult a professional who can diagnose your condition, work out whether massage is safe and appropriate, then advise you where, when, how long for and how often, and most importantly monitor your progress.