Consent and Contraindications
Did you know there are times when you should NOT have a massage? Trained and certified massage therapists know a lot about pathologies (diseases) and other conditions where massage isn’t recommended. They also know the difference between two very important types of contraindications. Do you?
There are two main types of contrindications. A general contraindication means that because of some kind of illness, injury or condition, you should avoid receiving massage under any circumstance. A local contraindication means you should avoid receiving massage on a specific part or parts of your body.
Sometimes, massage may cause a condition to worsen or have some kind of negative impact on the recipient. These circumstances call for the recipient to delay or cancel massage sessions because of general contraindications. Some well-known general contraindications include:
- systemic contagious or infectious diseases, including the common cold
- acute conditions requiring first aid or medical attention
- severe unstable hypertension
- significant fever
- nausea/vomiting or diarrhea
- severe pain
Sometimes these are referred to as “absolute contraindications”.
Here are some conditions where massage is locally contraindicated,meaning just the area impacted by the condition should be avoided, but you can receive massage on other parts of your body:
- acute flare-ups of inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- recent surgery
- recent burns, including sunburn
- deep vein thrombosis or varicose veins
- open sores or wounds
Sometimes these are referred to as “relative contraindications”.
Many of the conditions above may not be immediately evident to your therapist. Remember, massage therapy does not constitute medical treatment and is not a substitute for a medical examination or diagnosis. If you are dealing with a serious health condition check with your health care provider before seeking massage therapy and make sure you inform your massage therapist of any health conditions that may affect the work.
An informed consent agreement provides an opportunity to convey in writing what a client should expect from a session. It also states the limitations of what the client should expect.
I understand that the bodywork given to me is for the purpose of (stress reduction, pain reduction, relief from muscle tension, increasing circulation, or specific reasons.
I understand that the massage therapist does not diagnose illness or disease and does not prescribe medical treatment or pharmaceuticals, nor are spinal manipulations part of massage therapy.
I understand that massage and manual therapy is not a substitute for medical care and that it is recommended that I work with my primary caregiver for any condition I may have.
I have stated all my known physical conditions and medications, and I will keep the massage therapist updated on any changes.