Massage Therapy: Available at all STAR Locations
Hands-on medical massage therapy can restore your function and help you return to activities you once enjoyed. Also called therapeutic or rehabilitative massage, our therapy is tailored to your needs and goals, whether you want to go for a 10-mile run or simply load the dishwasher.
Many people find massage therapy worthwhile because it can relieve pain, even when other approaches have not worked. Those approaches may include physical therapy, injections and medications.
Why Choose STAR for Massage Therapy?
We offer massage therapy either on its own or as a supplement to our physical therapy. When you come to our program for massage therapy, you receive:
- Skilled therapists: Our licensed massage therapists have helped people for years and have advanced training in the medical aspects of treatment. They can take on even the most challenging cases, thanks to a partnership with Washington University doctors (physiatrists) who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
- Specialized massage: Unlike other types of massage, our therapy helps you heal from injury and gain relief from pain. Our team has the background and experience to treat chronic pain that lasts months or even years. We target specific areas, rather than taking a more general and less focused approach.
- Expert fascia treatment: All of our massage therapists have completed highly specialized training to treat the fascia, the supportive tissue that can play a less-recognized role in pain and injury. Fascia treatment provides a new opportunity to provide relief, and our therapists stay current on the latest research. In fact, we are one of the few programs in the Midwest practicing fascial manipulation™, a particularly specialized technique.
- Coordinated care: Our massage and physical therapists work closely together to help you find the right care. If you start physical therapy but have too much pain, we may recommend massage therapy to calm your body before you continue. If you come to us directly for massage therapy, we may suggest physical therapy if it will help.
- Caring team: We truly want the people we see to become better, and we appreciate the toll chronic pain can take. Open communication is a key part of our therapy. We take the time to answer your questions and let you know what to expect. Building your trust is important to us.
Learn more about the benefits of choosing STAR sports therapy and physical therapy.
What Is the Fascia?
If multiple treatments have not relieved your pain, the answer may lie with your fascia. This strong but relaxed tissue runs throughout the body, surrounding, connecting and protecting muscles, bones, nerves, blood vessels and organs. It shifts with these parts, providing the support and structure you need while helping make balance, flexibility and movement possible.
Doctors and therapists have only recently begun to understand the fascia more fully, including the role it can play in injuries and pain. We treat damage to this specialized tissue that includes when your fascia:
- Becomes stuck because of inactivity
- Thickens because of repeated, physical stress
- Tightens and becomes restricted because of inflammation or trauma, such as surgery
- Cannot move the way it should because of poor posture or lack of flexibility
Massage Therapy Treatments
We offer a full range of massage therapy techniques. Our recommendations depend on which treatment goals best suit your needs:
- Reduce chronic or acute pain
- Improve biomechanics and posture
- Release fascial or muscular restrictions
- Reduce headaches
- Release restricted movement patterns
- Stimulate blood flow to promote healing
- Reduce swelling
Myofascial release and fascial manipulation
Even if your fascia has sustained damage, it is often repairable with highly specialized massage therapy. Our massage therapists have the skills and advanced training to offer these demanding techniques:
- Myofascial release: Myofascial release refers to a group of techniques used on the fascia closer to the surface of your skin. Our therapists apply gentle, sustained pressure to relax contracted fascia and muscles, restoring motion and relieving pain. They may recommend release before fascial manipulation (described next) to soothe your fascia and pain perception.
- Fascial manipulation: Our therapists apply friction to specific points in the fascia surrounding your muscles, particularly the deep fascia. They work to help the fascia slide again, improving muscle function and proprioception, the sense your body has of its movement and place in space. Fascial manipulation is a very specific and specialized technique. It is the most deeply studied treatment for myofascial pain, with the longest-lasting results. It may help even if myofascial release does not.
Other massage therapy techniques
Our program also offers:
- Orthopedic massage: Deep-tissue massage treats muscles tied to your pain, including those not in the immediate area that may still play a role. Our therapists evaluate a wide range of your muscles and bones to make structural changes. They may also work on your posture.
- Neuromuscular therapy: Physical stress or trauma, such as an injury, can destabilize your central nervous system, causing pain and dysfunction. Our deep-tissue massage releases stress and re-balances that system.
- Scar mobilization: Also called scar massage, it involves our therapists working on the scar tissue that can develop from surgeries; tears, sprains and strains; and broken bones.
- Trigger point release: Our therapists focus on extremely irritated spots in the fascia around muscle that cause stiffness and pain.
How Much Does Massage Therapy Cost?
As with other STAR services, you need a referral for massage therapy from a doctor, nurse practitioner or chiropractor. You can also obtain one from a physical therapist (either at our program or another) when you are there for other care, such as physical therapy after joint replacement.
Insurance does not typically cover massage therapy directly. Our services cost $70 per hour, with payment due at the time of service.
We can provide you with a letter explaining why you need massage therapy, so you can then seek reimbursement from your insurance provider. Health savings accounts (HSAs) also typically cover massage therapy.
Learn more about insurance coverage for physical therapy.
To learn more about our services or make an appointment, please call a STAR location:
- Chesterfield — Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Orthopedic Center: 314.514.3636
- Creve Coeur — Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital: 314.996.3050
- South County — Center for Advanced Medicine: 314.286.1000