While massage therapy has very few serious risks when performed by a properly licensed massage therapist, there are some complications that may make you think twice. In this blog, Elements of Rockville Centre will discuss massage contraindications that may affect your eligibility to receive massage treatment.
Note that this doesn’t mean you can never receive a massage, but that for your own wellbeing, waiting until your contraindication has subsided is likely in your best interest.
What is a Contraindication?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a contraindication is “something (such as a symptom or condition) that makes a particular treatment or procedure inadvisable.” Therefore, massage contraindications are preexisting conditions or medical complications that may prevent you from receiving massage therapy.
It’s pronounced “contra-indication,” like the opposite of “indication.” Indications are reasons you should get a massage (stress, back pain, etc.), contraindications are reasons you shouldn’t.
What are some Common Massage Contraindications?
For the purpose of this blog, Elements of Rockville Centre will distinguish between two main categories of contraindications: general and local.
General contraindications are medical conditions that make massage ill-advised entirely. In other words, you should avoid getting a massage if you have any of the following common conditions or symptoms:
- An infectious virus or disease (including the common cold)
- High fever
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Unstable hypertension
- Organ failure (for example: kidney or liver)
For temporary but contagious contraindications like a fever or cold, you can undergo massage therapy after the condition has subsided.
Note: this is not an exhaustive list of general contraindications. Always touch base with your doctor or a licensed massage therapist if you’re unsure.
Local contraindications are complications that will require modification of your massage therapy session. Usually, this includes avoiding affected areas of the body. Common examples are:
- Open sores or wounds
- Recent burns
- Recent surgery
- Acute flare-up of inflammatory conditions (like rheumatoid arthritis)
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Varicose veins
- Recently ruptured or torn muscles
Note: this is not an exhaustive list of local contraindications. Always touch base with your doctor or a licensed massage therapist if you’re unsure.
Is Pregnancy a Contraindication?
Depending on who you ask, you may hear that first trimester pregnancy is a contraindication. But generally, there is no issue with pregnant women receiving massage therapy by a licensed massage therapist.
In fact, prenatal massage has some great benefits for both expecting mothers and their unborn babies. However, Elements of Rockville Centre still recommends discussing it with your healthcare practitioner first.
If you have any other condition that you suspect may be worsened by massage therapy, make sure you ask a qualified professional before booking your next appointment. Massage contraindications don’t mean you can never receive massage, just that you should take extra precaution. Your wellbeing is our primary concern!
Disclaimer: Elements of Rockville Centre is not an organization of healthcare professionals. All authoritative claims in this blog have been linked to their sources.