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Contraindications for Massage

When to avoid massage therapy and spa treatments

Why are contraindications important to you? Because the body acts as a whole unit, therefore, when receiving massage therapy services or spa treatments, the whole body is being affected.

Always consult your physician before starting any treatment program and if you have an existing situation, this includes massage therapy services and spa treatments. When it comes to your health, we suggest that you exercise caution and seek professional guidance.

Most of the time, your doctor will tell you when to avoid massage therapy if you have a health issue where it may cause a concern. However, we have included a few of the more common contraindications here for quick reference.

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. Just a few things to keep in mind but note that this list is not all-inclusive:

Pregnancy and massage therapy services or spa treatments

Due to the body's heightened sensitivity and hormonal levels during pregnancy, expecting mothers should refrain from all massage therapy services and spa treatments until they have entered their second trimester.

After you are through your first trimester, consult your physician to make sure you can receive massage therapy. We stress the importance of this considering each pregnancy is different and only your doctor can tell you whether or not you should have any massage or spa 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 therapist qualified in maternity massage, you may have to go without!

Injury, surgery, scar healing and massage therapy or spa treatments

In the case of an injury or scar healing from surgery, ask your doctor 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 "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 for existing health concerns, ask them if you can receive massage therapy before booking an appointment.

Tell your doctor which massage therapy services or spa treatments you were 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 from them in order to determine which massage therapy services 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 treatments 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, the therapist does not want to affect anyone negatively. The physician also wants to help the client - but if they are monitoring the level of anxiety the client experiences 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 body treatments

In case of fever, nausea and lethargy, massage therapy and body treatments should be avoided until a diagnosis has been determined by a physician to rule out infectious diseases. Why is that?

Good question, so here's an example we can all relate to. Keeping symptoms contained to an area makes it easier to treat them and allows your body to heal faster. If you are coming down with the common cold when you get a massage, you may become much more ill 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 is primarily situated in your head, after a massage, it may actually move into your chest as well. You will probably feel much worse and it will take longer for you to heal.

If you do not get the massage, but instead stay home and rest, take hot baths to sweat it out, watch movies all day and feel temporarily sorry for yourself because you can't breathe through your nose and you look like Rudolph, the cold may never progress and you will feel much better...much sooner.

These are some examples that may apply to any one of us at any time. 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 try to assist people to a more natural and healthy healing process of 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.

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