Thursday, 18 April 2013

When Not to Give/Take Massage

Many a times our body craves a massage, especially when we are sick and the body is aching. But is that the best time to get a massage? Should a responsible therapist give a massage at that time?

Massage is a very non-invasive and safe alternative therapy. But it can be harmful in two cases:

  • If done by an untrained therapist and
  • If done when contraindicated.

In the first case, we can ask for the qualifications (proof of qualifications) of the therapist. Beware, due to lack of licensing and standardization of massage training in India, even good spas may not have well trained therapists, as some of our students have experienced first-hand. Unfortunately, the only way to find out is to do our research well and get the therapy from them at least once.

In the second case, there are a few points to remember where massage is contraindicated:

Fever/Infection – at this time, the body needs only rest, not stimulation. There is also a danger of the infection spreading within the client and to the therapist also.

Hypertension/Cardiac conditions – Massage generally helps in calming the body and mind and reducing stress. However, vigorous, stimulating massage should be avoided by anyone who has High BP or cardiac conditions. If one is taking blood thinning medication or has recently undergone surgery, they must avoid massage unless recommended by their doctor.

Diabetes – Again here it depends on the nature of the disease. If one is suffering from diabetic neuropathy, they may not feel the pressure during massage and may ask for more, but the therapist must not relent as it could be harmful. A doctor’s permit before treatment is recommended. In case of cuts or bruises or gangrene, there is a chance of infection spreading in the client as well as the therapist.

Injury/fracture/skin conditions – Any part with injury or infection should be avoided. In such cases it is better to avoid massage until the part is healed. In case of fracture, there should be absolutely no movement in the part and massage is strictly contraindicated. Some skin conditions are harmless, such as Psoriasis, Leucoderma, etc. But others may carry infection or be painful and massage on and around the part should be avoided.

Under influence or alcohol/drugs – If a person is taking strong prescription medication, a doctor’s permit should be acquired before massage. If under influence of alcohol, massage is strictly contraindicated as the nervous system is affected.

Cancer – Light, gentle massage can be very beneficial for cancer patients. However, in some cases, there are chances of it spreading in the body with massage. It is best to have a doctor’s permit for massage therapy.

Varicose Veins/Inflammation – Massage directly over varicose veins is contraindicated as well as in case of internal or external inflammation.

If massage is done to someone with any of the above contraindications, it can have an adverse effect. This is why a good, responsible therapist take the case history of the client before giving treatment. A client should be aware of these points before trying any therapy and the therapist should help educate the client for the same.

Mr. Pinakin Shah
Pristine Senses Academy