Although all types of massage have been used for long time and are safe for health, yet, as with any other treatment, it should be remembered that there are situations when the massage should be done with caution. In some cases, massage is absolutely contraindicated. If you are in doubt, consult your doctor or a professional massage therapist before starting any massage.
At the beginning of the massage session, make sure that you have enough time to ask the patient about the state of his/her health. Find out if he has some kind of a chronic disease or if he is taking medication. You need to make sure that the patient was not injured shortly before the session, that he has no broken bones and that he had no surgery. If the patient is not well, it is better to postpone the session, because it can worsen the condition. This applies to any discomfort from cold or heat to skin problems or serious infectious diseases.
Remember all the cuts, bruises, open wounds, blisters, redness and swelling – these areas are very sensitive to touch and can become infected, so it is better not to touch. Any contagious skin disease (ringworm, impetigo, scabies or herpes) excludes massage in order to avoid contamination.
- Ringworm – a fungal disease. It begins with the appearance of small red papules, which are gradually becoming more and form a shiny red itchy circle around the body.
- Impetigo – a contagious bacterial skin disease usually affecting skin around the mouth, nose and ears, where there are fluid-filled blisters. Bursting, they leave the skin yellowish-brown.
- Scabies can be identified by small pair red marks around the wrists and between the fingers and terrible itching.
- Herpes is a viral infection that manifests itself through sores around the mouth and nose, especially after sun exposure or stressful experiences.
Eczema and psoriasis may look disgusting, but they are not contagious. If there is no damage to the skin, then there are no contraindications for massage. But it must be clarified with the patient if touching does not cause discomfort on the affected skin.
Large bruises on the skin may indicate internal damage, so the massage in such cases is extremely dangerous.
Skin lesions on the head should be also considered: pediculosis (lice), ringworm and folliculitis – a bacterial infection, where around the hair follicles appears a bundle of abscess.
Medical conditions associated with the skeleton, such as brittle bones, osteoporosis, spondylitis, are contraindications for massage sessions because of the high risk to the patient. Bone disease and problems with posture can lead to weakness of the spine. In these cases, you can perform massage only after a consultation with a doctor.
You should also be aware of any injuries of the head, neck and shoulders – massage can worsen the condition, so consult with your doctor.
When the patient has hypertension, there is always a risk of blood clots existence, so be sure to consult your doctor. If the high blood pressure is due to stress, massage will help, but first it is better to see a doctor. Low blood pressure increases the likelihood of fainting, so take care that the patient does not make any sudden movements after the session. Such blood circulation problems as recent bleeding, presence of thrombosis or embolism, require the presence of a doctor during the massage session. Although massage improves blood circulation, varicose veins should be treated with great caution and in no cases pressure should be applied on the affected area.
If the patient suffers from epilepsy, you can not start any treatment without first consulting your doctor. Typically, patients take medications to stabilize this condition, but the massage and especially head massage can provoke an attack.
In case of cancer, massage is contraindicated, but in recent years it is increasingly used as a palliative treatment. Before starting the massage sessions, consult an oncologist. In any case, massage should not be applied directly after chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Massage can be very useful during pregnancy, just remember that you are operating not only on one person, but already on two persons, and so be especially careful to avoid the abdomen. Your contact should be lighter than usually. This is particularly important in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Children and the elderly
The theory of “lighter touch” applies in cases when massage is applied to children, elderly or persons with a fragile body. The strength of your techniques must comply with the patient’s energy. Even if you work with strong-looking children, don’t be too zealous, until you get used to the patient, and the patient is used to your massages. Too active massage may lead to a high energy recovery that the young patient will not resist and he may faint.
It happens that some patients may have some kind of emotional reaction to massage – they can cry or feel frustrated. This may happen because massage releases the carefully hidden feelings. In situations like this try to be sensitive and ask the patient whether they want to continue the session or prefer a little break.
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