Massage Contraindications

The following applies to massage and some other services.

All inclusive list.  It may be longer than you expect, and it includes some conditions that at first glance don’t seem like massage would affect at all. Take a look:

  • Any contagious condition: We take the health of our guests and staff seriously. A cold, flu, rash, or any other potentially contagious condition is a serious contraidication to receiving any of our services. Massage is not usually helpful in conditions like that, but is likely to negatively effect  the health of our other guests and staff.  Even if you think it is an allergy or some other non- contagious condition please err on the side of caution and allow yourself a few days before scheduling services with us. 


  • 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, you 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 yourself to the virus as well.
  • Hernia: Hernias are protrusions of part of an organ (such as the intestines) through a muscular wall. It’s not a good idea to try to push these organs back inside. Surgery works better.
  • Osteoporosis: Elderly people with a severe stoop to the shoulders often have this condition, in which bones become porous, brittle, and fragile. Massage may be too intense for this condition.
  • 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 massage in other areas.
  • Cancer: Cancer can spread through the lymphatic system, and because massage increases lymphatic circulation, it may potentially spread the disease as well. Simple, caring touch is fine, but massage strokes that stimulate circulation are not. Always check with a doctor first.
  • Other conditions and diseases: Diabetes, asthma, and other serious conditions each has its own precautions, and you should seek a doctor’s opinion before administering massage.
  • HIV infection: Some people still think of AIDS as something that can be “caught” through simple skin-to-skin contact, but most of us know that’s not the case. If there is no exchange of bodily fluids (blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or mother’s milk), HIV can’t be transmitted during massage. So, HIV infection is not contraindicated for this reason. However, some of the infections that people suffering from the later stages of AIDS experience are contraindicated, and you should avoid those infections. Loving, soothing contact is extremely important for people at any stage of infection, but in the case of any visible rashes, sores, lesions, or swelling, massage is best left to a professional. If you have any cuts or scrapes or scratches on your hands, it’s an especially good idea to wear thin surgical gloves while massaging an HIV-infected person with any signs of open lesions.
  • Open wounds
    Any cuts, lacerations or grazes. Obvious really, but it has to be said. You should wait until the scar has properly formed. This is usually between one and two weeks.Muscle ruptures
    In the acute stage these may still be bleeding. Massage will increase bleeding and tissue damage and prolong recovery. After the initial 48 to 72 hours massage may be possible but it will depend on the extent of the injury.Tendon ruptures
    The above also applies to tendon injuries. Complete ruptures will need surgery, not massage.Muscle and tendon partial tears
    Massage may be suitable after a minimum period of 48 hours, longer for more serious injuries.

    These are impact injuries causing bleeding within the muscle. Massage to a contusion too soon after the injury may cause further damage and may lead to Myositis Ossificans (bone growth within the muscle).

    Burns, Chilblains and Broken bones
    Massaging all of these will hurt and cause damage. Don’t do it.

    This is inflammation of the sheath that surrounds the bone. Massage directly to the bone may cause irritation. You may be able to massage the surrounding muscles but stay well clear of the bone.

    Rheumatoid arthritis and gout
    These are inflammatory conditions. The same rules apply here as to acute injuries. Massage may cause further inflammation.

    Inflammation to a bursa. A bursa is a small sack of fluid that helps tendons pass over bones at joints. If there is pain, swelling and redness over the skin then massage should be avoided.

    Myositis ossificans
    A bad contusion or muscle rupture may begind to calcify (grow bone). Massage will make the damage worse.

    Infections of the skin and soft tissue
    Bacterial infections, viral infections and fungal infections can be spread to other areas of the body by the therapist. Pain may also result from the infection, not an injury so massage will not help.

    This is a rare but potentially lethal blood clot in a vein. It is common in the calf muscle area. A deep, sore pain in the belly of the muscle may be a thrombosis. If this is massaged, it may dislodge, travel up the veins and damage the heart.

    Artificial blood vessels
    Artificial blood vessels which are implanted through surgery should be avoided.

    Bleeding disorders such as heamophillia
    Massage may cause damage to tissues and result in bleeding.

    If you are unsure of any lumps and bumps in the muscle or skin then leave well alone. Most often these lumps are muscle spasms or fatty tissue. An experienced therapist can usually tell.

    Absolutely anything else you are not sure of!
    Ask us before scheduling your appointment or as soon as the condition in question arises.

Please be advised that our staff has the authority to refuse to offer services if your condition is considered a contraindication, and you will still owe in full for the services that were booked in acoordance with our 24 hour cancelation policy. We recognize that some conditions may arise within a 24 hour period and we do our best to accomodate a late cancelation on a case by case basis.  Please take a look at our policy if you have other questions or call 817.918.4075

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