• alexandriamckenzie

Why Your Massage Therapist Asks All Those Health Questions

Before your first massage, I’m going to ask you about your health history. I’ve got an intake form that I will email you and will be completed through a secure HIPPA compliant process. It will ask about what medications and medical conditions you have and questions about your health history. So why is this? Am I nosy? Why do I need to know such detailed, personal information about you that you may only otherwise share with your doctor? It may seem like a hassle or invasion of your privacy to fill out an intake form. The reason I want to know about your health is that it protects you from potential injury during your massage. Also, it means I can better personalize your massage to your needs. It ensures that when you leave the massage table, you feel better than ever. What is a contraindication, and what does it have to do with my massage? Every so often, it turns out that for some people in specific health situations, massage could be harmful. This is known as contraindication. There are two types of contraindication: Relative and Absolute.

A relative contraindication means that caution should be used when performing certain procedures. In the world of massage therapy, this means that a massage therapy session can happen, but that the therapist will need to adjust the techniques and particulars of the session (like positioning, pressure, even massage products used) to stay safe and effective. Absolute contraindication is the term used when massage could cause harm and should not be applied at all.

While typically relaxing and healing, there are times when a massage can be painful or even dangerous for various health-related reasons. In most cases, this means we can proceed with the massage, but I’ll ask some follow-up questions to keep it safe and effective. Examples of massage contraindications include: Varicose veins Undiagnosed lumps or bumps Pregnancy Bruising, cuts, abrasions, and even sunburns Psoriasis Eczema High blood pressure Cancer Osteoporosis Heart problems Epilepsy

Fear not: Not all of the above listed medical conditions mean you have to give up your regular session with your massage therapist. In fact, for some of these conditions, massage can have significant soothing effects. However, it does mean that your therapist will need to give you specific care. This is one of the main reasons your massage therapist must know your medical history. Also, colds, the flu, skin infections, or the presence of fever are all reasons to wait to get a massage until you are feeling better.

Why does my massage therapist need to know what medications I am taking? Some medications affect your body’s ability to heal and process correctly. I need to be aware of what you’re taking so I can make adjustments. For example, a firm, deep tissue massage could be very dangerous if you are taking blood thinners. If you’ve been on corticosteroids for a long time, you may have a low bone density or thin skin as a result. Again, in almost all cases, we can make adjustments to keep your massage safe and effective. The key is to keep me fully informed. In a nutshell, even if you think a detail may be irrelevant, it’s smart to complete my intake form entirely and honestly. That helps me create the best and safest massage, just for you.

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