When NOT To Get a Massage

As with all therapy, our first rule is to “do no harm,” and, as a result, there are certain situations where talking to your doctor before getting a massage might be advisable. And as beneficial as massage may seem, there are still times when you should refrain from getting one because it may adversely affect a health condition.

Contraindication is the medical term for these conditions. "Contra" means against, as in contrary, and indications are things that tell you what to do one way or the other. Therefore, contraindications are things that are telling you not to do something.

Below is a general list of contraindications for massage. We err on the side of caution, so if any of these conditions apply to you, contact us before scheduling your appointment and we’ll let you know if we think you should speak to your doctor before coming in.

PLEASE NOTE: We WILL send you home if you come in sick. We are more than happy to reschedule your appointment when you are feeling better.

FEVER: When you have a fever, your body is trying to isolate and expel an invader of some kind. Massage increases overall circulation and could therefore work against your body's natural defenses.

INFLAMMATION: Massage can further irritate an area of inflammation, so you should not administer it. Inflamed conditions include anything that ends in –itis, such as phlebitis (inflammation of a vein), dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), arthritis (inflammation of the joints), and so on. In the case of localized problems, our therapists can still massage around them, however, avoiding the inflammation itself.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: High blood pressure means excessive pressure against blood vessel walls. Massage affects the blood vessels, and so people with high blood pressure or a heart condition should receive light, sedating massages, if at all.

INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Massage is not a good idea for someone coming down with the flu or diphtheria, for example, and to make matters worse, you expose anyone who comes into close contact with you to the virus as well.

HERNIA: Hernias are protrusions of part of an organ (such as the intestines) through a muscular wall. Osteoporosis: Elderly people with a severe stoop to the shoulders often have this condition, in which bones become porous, brittle, and fragile. Deep Tissue massage may be too intense for this condition, but Swedish massage may be an option.

VARICOSE VEINS: Massage directly over varicose veins can worsen the problem. However, if you apply a very light massage next to the problem, always in a direction toward the heart, it can be very beneficial.

BROKEN BONES: Stay away from an area of mending bones. A little light massage to the surrounding areas, though, can improve circulation and be quite helpful.

SKIN PROBLEMS: You should avoid anything that looks like it shouldn't be there, such as rashes, wounds, bruises, burns, boils, and blisters, for example. Usually these problems are local, so you can still receive massage in other areas.