Clinical (or also sometimes called Medical Massage) is one of the fastest growing sectors in the massage therapy profession. This includes working with people who have health issues such as pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, herniated discs, sciatica and many other musculoskeletal issues.
Clinical massage requires in depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology so that you can understand the various conditions and learn how to apply massage therapy techniques to create results in relieving the conditions.
Many schools may introduce this sort of thing in basic massage school or offer additional training in it. You can also take Continuing education classes in various things like assessment and clinical thinking to help you work with these populations.
Is it clinical or Medical Massage?
Your massage school may be referring to this as medical massage. This is more of a marketing term as there is no such technique or method called Medical Massage.
CLINICAL MASSAGE is the use of massage techniques to safely work with patients who have diseases, disorders, or injuries. Therapists working with clinical cases may use a variety of assessments to formulate treatment plans that focus on therapeutic or palliative goals. Clinical massage may also refer to the settings where massage services are provided such as specialty clinics (e.g., physical therapy clinics, physical rehabilitation clinics, chiropractic clinics, sports clinics, and hospice care clinics) and polyclinics such as hospitals, which provide a range of inpatient and outpatient health care services.
~Susan Salvo, 6th Edition of Massage Therapy Principles and Practices.
Massage therapy for physical rehabilitation
Massage therapy can be used to work with people in pain from long days at the computer or injuries sustained in accidents. The goal is to relieve pain AND restore loss of function.
Hospital Based Massage Therapy
Massage therapy done in hospitals can be part of the physical rehabilitation process for people who have undergone surgery or it can also be a part of the care team to provide relaxation from such stressful procedures and events. It can be used in the labor and delivery section, for preterm infants, in recovery for joint replacements, in oncology centers, in geriatric centers and in hospice and palliative care.
You will be required to take extra training in learning how to deal with hospital equipment and to work as a team with doctors.
Oncology Massage therapy
Working with people with cancer requires that you have extra training and knowledge in dealing with people undergoing the various cancer treatments. People are more vulnerable, anxious and often are in pain. About 30 years ago, it was unheard of to work on people with cancer but the more we learned, the more massage therapy has been accepted in hospitals and cancer centers to help deal with things like lymphadema that results with some cancer treatments.