Contraindications of massage (when to avoid massage therapy and spa treatments)
Why are contraindications of massage important to you? Because the body acts as a whole unit, therefore, when receiving massage therapy and alternative healing services or spa treatments, the whole body is often affected.
As contraindications of massage may vary with each individual’s situation, we strongly recommend that you always consult your physician before starting any treatment program. If you have an existing situation, this includes massage therapy services and spa treatments.
Most of the time, your doctor will tell you if your personal situation falls within the concerns of contraindications of massage. However, we have included a few of the more common known contraindications here for quick reference (this list is not all-inclusive).
Note: If you have had a recent injury, surgery or are pregnant, be sure to mention it to your therapist, as certain types of massage may adversely affect an existing situation.
Pregnancy and massage therapy services or spa treatments
Pregnancy and massage therapy, logically, should go hand in hand. However, due to the body's heightened sensitivity and hormonal levels during pregnancy, expecting mothers should refrain from all massage therapy services and certain spa treatments until they have entered their second trimester.
After the first trimester, consult your physician to make sure you can receive massage therapy and spa treatments and if so, confirm which ones. We stress this as each pregnancy is different and only your doctor can tell you whether or not you should have any of these treatments.
After receiving the green light from your doctor, be sure to inform whomever you book your appointment with and your therapist that you are pregnant.
This may sound silly, but unless you are booking a prenatal massage (pregnancy massage), it is not always obvious. And, if your appointment is not booked with a massage therapist qualified in maternity massage, you may have to go without.
Injury, surgery, scar healing and massage therapy or spa treatments
Contraindications of massage in the case of an injury or scar healing from surgery should be discussed with your doctor. Ask them what you can and cannot do in the case of massage therapy.
Always tell the therapist of any recent injuries or surgeries in case they need to address the concern or simply avoid the area altogether.
Also, just because there has been a break to a bone or recent knee replacement surgery, does not mean the rest of the body cannot receive massage. This would be an example of a "regional contraindication."
Medical care for existing health concerns and massage therapy or spa treatments
If you are receiving medical care or treatments from your physician, ask them if there are any contraindications of massage that you need to be aware of before booking an appointment.
Tell your doctor which massage therapy services or spa treatments you are interested in and make sure you can proceed.
Depending on your situation, your physician may need to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatments you are receiving in order to determine which holistic healing, massage therapy or spa treatments are affecting you and how.
This may seem trivial, but for example, some medications have been known to have a side effect of anxiety.
Most massage therapy services will relax the client and therefore simultaneously reduce the level of anxiety. For those who cannot relax for the therapist, the opposite could happen and they may become more anxious.
Obviously, this would be the opposite of what both the therapist and the client want. The physician also wants to help the client. If they are monitoring the level of anxiety experienced with the drug to monitor the correct dosage, then the effects of the massage may throw this evaluation out of proportion. The client may then wind up with the incorrect dosage strength for their needs.
Fever, nausea, lethargy and massage therapy or bodywork treatments
Common contraindications of massage that are often disregarded and shouldn’t be include: fever, nausea and lethargy. Massage therapy and bodywork treatments should be avoided until a diagnosis has been determined by a physician to rule out infectious diseases.
This example may help explain. Keeping symptoms contained to an area makes it easier to treat and allows your body to heal faster. If you are coming down with the common cold when you get a massage, you may become sicker than you would have had you waited.
When you are receiving a massage, the fluids within your system get pushed around and toxins are released into the rest of your body. So…if you have a cold and it’s primarily situated in your head, after a massage, it may actually move into your chest as well. You could feel much worse and it may take longer for you to heal.
There are plenty of other things to take into consideration, so please be sure to seek the advice from your physician if you are experiencing symptoms.
Protect massage therapists and practitioners of alternative medicines
It is your responsibility to know your body and advise others who provide treatments for you of anything that may complicate matters.
Massage therapists and other practitioners of alternative medicines are healers. They are offering their services to bring about a natural, healthy healing process for the body, mind and spirit.
Please do your part to protect them and what they stand for by doing your research, therefore working with them so you can receive the best treatments possible.