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While massage is one of the safest things you can do to improve your health there are times where massage is a big NoNo! This is to ensure both the Client and Therapist health and safety. This list is nowhere near comprehensive. You may have a unique condition that could deem you unfit for massage. If you have any questions ask you doctor or a Licensed Massage Therapist if massage is the right therapy for you. Absolute contraindications:

  • Active state (acute or flare-up) of contagious diseases.
  • Acute skin conditions and diseases (chickenpox, measles, widespread contact dermatitis, ringworm, scleroderma, widespread rashes).
  • Acute pneumonia.
  • Advanced kidney failure, respiratory failure, or liver failure (a very modified treatment may be possible with medical consent).
  • Autoimmune diseases or acute inflammatory processes during exacerbation or flare-up period.
  • Cancer without physician’s approval. Chemo and Radiation protocol.
  • Cellulitis.
  • Fever.
  • Flu/Upper Respiratory Infection.
  • General acute inflammatory and infectious processes.
  • Hepatitis (during acute phase).
  • Lice.
  • Pneumothorax (air or gas within the chest cavity around the lung).
  • Recent significant injury (wait 72 hours or until physician’s approval is obtained).
  • Recent surgery (wait until managing physician’s approval is given or client is released from physician’s care).
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (during flare-up).
  • Severe recent burns including sunsburn.
  • Shingles at any stage.
  • Uncontrolled hypertension (conditions that are not stable, i.e., post-stroke or heart attack).

In the case of partial or local contraindications, meanwhile, affected areas are avoided and massage is given with great caution. This is to ensure both the client’s comfort and safety. Here are some of the conditions under this category:

  • Abnormal lumps (undiagnosed).
  • Acne vulgaris.
  • Acute inflammation.
  • Arteritis (inflammation of the arteries).
  • Blister (if less than 72 hours old).
  • Broken bone.
  • Cysts.
  • Cortisone Shots - 7-10 day wait period.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis.
  • Herpes simplex outbreak.
  • Local inflammation.
  • Open wounds.
  • Phlebitis (inflammation of a vein).
  • Phlebothrombosis (blood clots in the veins).
  • Skin rashes limited to a small area.
  • Spina bifida.
  • Swollen lymph glands.
  • Tooth Abscess.
  • Unhealed burns and abrasions.
  • Warts.
  • Varicosities (varicose veins) over sites with deep vein thrombosis.

You may have a unique condition that could deem you unfit to get massage. Again, nothing can be safer than asking your doctor whether or not massage is the right therapy for you.