Natural pain care through massage therapy

Integrative Touch and Bodywork

Natural Pain Care
Through Massage Therapy

Share this page with a friend

Cautions and Contraindications

What is a Contraindication?
Contraindication: Any (medical) condition that renders a particular treatment (massage) improper or undesirable. Contraindications are health conditions, which may predispose people to being harmed when they are massaged. Massage is contraindicated when it could cause an adverse or undesirable reaction of a particular condition, unwanted tissue destruction, or spread of disease.

The medical literature has epidemiological data on the occurrence of each contraindication in the U.S. population. However, neither the medical nor the massage literature has epidemiological data on the incidence of harm associated with each contraindication because there are so few reports of well-documented harm associated with massage.

Medical emergencies are the most obvious contraindications for massage. These situations require First Aid &/or the specialized training of a medical doctor.


Click image to enlarge

A hospital or emergency room is preferred to a massage table for the following conditions:

Anaphylaxis
Appendicitis
Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke)
Diabetic coma
Insulin shock
Epileptic seizure
Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
Pneumothorax
Atelectasis
Severe asthma attack
Syncope (fainting)
Contagious Diseases
Significant Fever (101F or 38.3C and higher)
Shock (all types)
Thyroid storm
Undiagnosed tumors or lumps
Acute intracranial hemorrhage
Recent skull fracture

Systemic, Local & Medical contraindications

Systemic Contraindication signifies that massage should be generally avoided. Modification may be allowed with Medical consultation. Please let your massage therapist know if you have any of the following conditions:

Acute-stage pneumonia
Acute pelvic inflammatory disease
Acute respiratory condition:
     Asthma
     Emphysema
     Pneumonia
Advanced organ failure
Aneurisms deemed life threatening, thrombophlebitis or arteritis
Ascites
Bacterial Infections (staphylococcal, Scarlet fever)
Bronchiectasis
Chronic active hepatitis
Coma
Contagious or Infectious Diseases/Conditions (systemic)
Diabetes Mellitus 1 - 2 w/complications:
    Advanced heart disease
    Advanced kidney disease
    Advanced vascular complications (atherosclerosis &/or advanced hypertension)
Endocarditis/pericarditis (infective and non-infective)
Fever (101F/38.3C)
Headache (sudden onset of severe undiagnosed)
Heavy intoxication-Drugs &/or Alcohol Hemophilia
Hemorrhage or any internal bleeding (not menses)
Hyper/Hypoglycemia     (stupor/confusion/inappropriate behavior)
Hypertension
  (severe and unstable high blood pressure)
Hypoxemia
Inherited Connnective tissue Disorders (Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Marfans syndrome)
Kidney/liver failure
Lung abscess or tumor
Osteomyelitis
Parasitic infections
Pitting edema due to complications with:
     Heart
     Kidney
     Cancer
Post cerebrovascular accident-CVA or stroke (unstable condition)
Post myocardial infarction-MI or heart attack (unstable condition)
Pregnancy Complications
     Ectopic
     Eclampsia
     Pre-eclmapia
     Toxemia
Pulmonary edema/hypertension
Recent skull fracture
Respiratory failure (advanced)
Shock
Sepsis
Severe atherosclerosis/arteriosclerosis
Severe unexplained internal pain
Undiagnosed mole(s)
Undiagnosed lump

Regional (Local) Contraindications


Massage can be provided with special care to avoid a particular area or region. A physician should be consulted for a more complete evaluation and to rule out any underlying conditions.

Acute inflammatory condition
Acute disc herniation
Acute flare-up of inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis)
Acute neuritis
Acute Trigeminal Neuralgia
Aneurysm; life threatening (abdominal aorta)
Anti-inflammatory treatment site (24-48hrs)
Buerger’s disease
Contusions

Deep Vein Thrombosis
Diabetes with loss of sensation
Ectopic/High risk pregnancy
Endometriosis
Esophageal varicosities
Fracture
   (casted or directly after cast removal)
Frostbite
Goiter (acute & subacute)
Hernia
Joint Dislocation
   (instability or hypermobility)
Kidney Infection (stones)
Local contagious/infections condition
Local irritable skin condition
Malignancy (unstable)
Mastitis
Meningitis
Minor surgery
Open wound or sore
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Phlebitis, phlebothrombosis, arteritis
Pitting Edema
Radiation therapy (during treatment)
Recent Burn
Severe varicose veins
Superficial Thrombosis
   (chronic or long-standing)
Temporal arteritis
Undiagnosed lump

Medical (Adaptive) Contraindications

Conditions that are indicated for massage but require treatment adaptation &/or medical consultation.

AIDS
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Asthma
Chronic pneumonia
Hemiplegia
Cerebral palsy
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Spinal cord injury
Parkinson
Radiation therapy (after several weeks)
Congestive heart failure
Chronic kidney disease
Immunosuppressed patients
Coma (w/ Physician’s referral)
Debilitation
Diagnosed atherosclerosis
Drug withdrawal
Chronic Emphysema
Hyper/Hypotension
Inflammatory arthritides
Major Surgery
Osteoporosis
Osteomalacia
Cancer
Moderate diabetes mellitus
Post-cerebrovascular accident or
    myocardial infarction
Recent head injury
Chronic angina (chest pain)
Severe varicose veins
Diverticulitis
Chronic ulcerative colitis/Crohn’s disease
Mastitis
Endometriosis
Unexplained hematomas
Disk herniation
Contusion
Flaccid paralysis or paresis
Fracture (while casted)
Hernia
Joint instability
Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease
Diarrhea/Constipation
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Gestational Diabetes
Seizure disorders
Inflammatory conditions (acute/chronic)

Important Considerations:

When in doubt, please consult your doctor, contact us or refer to the resources on our Web Search page for more information about your specific condition or situation.

Different medications, such as anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxants, and analgesics may require modifications of the massage treatment.

Emotional and psychiatric conditions vary in their magnitude, types and responses to massage. Decisions will be made according to individual circumstances.

Please inform your therapist of any allergies to any lotions, oils, scents (aromatherapy), cleansers and disinfectants.

The presence of prosthetic devices; pins, staples, plates, artificial joints, etc. may alter the way we apply massage techniques.

Fritz, Sandy: Mosby’s Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage, ed 3, St. Louis, 2004.