Massage has many benefits including stress relief, pain relief, and a wide range of positive effects on specific medical conditions.
But there are some situations in which massage is not appropriate because of the risks involved for both the recipient and the practitioner.
Here are 10 instances in which massage should be avoided.
1. Colds and Flu
If a client is experiencing cold or flu symptoms they should be rescheduled due to the risk posed of infecting others. Not to mention any congestion they are experiencing could be made worse from lying face down.
For a client with a fever of over 100.4ºF, any massage that challenges his/her internal environment should be avoided as the body is going through an acute healing process. However, very light massage does not pose a risk and may actually help the client sleep better.
3. Blood Clots
A past history of blood clots does not necessarily mean massage should be avoided. However, if blood clots are present then deep tissue massage should not be carried out as it will increase the chance of the blood clot being released.
If a client is experiencing diabetic neuropathy (loss of sensation) massage is contraindicated as it will be hard for the client to tell if the pressure is too deep. Similarly, hot stone massage should also be avoided as the client will not be able to sense if the stones are too hot.
5. Severe Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is characterized by a loss of bone density, and tends to mainly affect older women, making their bones very fragile. Because of this, deep massage work carries the risk of broken bones.
6. Severe platelet deficiency
For clients with this condition, massage is not completely contraindicated, however deep tissue work or trigger point therapy could cause bruising or hematomas (extensive leakage of blood) so should be avoided.
7. Clients under the influence of drink or drugs
For intoxicated clients, the danger of injury from massage is increased as the client’s ability to tell if the massage is too intense or deep is impaired. And even the next day if the client is hungover and dehydrated, massage is not recommended as they will most likely feel more dehydrated after the treatment.
8. Autoimmune diseases
During inflammatory stages or acute flare ups of rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, lupus, or other autoimmune diseases, the skin can be very painful to the touch so it’s best to avoid massage until the symptoms subside.
Meningitis can be life-threatening to the client and is also contagious. Massage should be avoided when it’s in the acute stage, but during remission massage can help to lesson exacerbations, relax the client and prevent contractures and stiffness.
Cellulitis is a skin infection which appears as a red, hot, tender patch on the skin. Even if the red patch is discreet, this condition often accompanied by fever and malaise, so whole body massage is contraindicated.
The above list is only a small selection of the many conditions which can rule out massage treatment until symptoms improve.