I am a fan of massage therapy. There are so many benefits both physically and mentally, and it can be a great addition to your healthcare and to treatment plans for many diseases and disorders. That being said, there are times when massage is not an appropriate choice. Many of the things on this list may come as a surprise, and can sometimes be avoided, which is why I think it is so important to share them.
First, let's start with a little bit of terminology. The first terms I would like to introduce are indicated vs. contraindicated. If something is indicated, it means that it is safe and appropriate. If something is contraindicated, it means that it is inappropriate for the situation and potentially unsafe. Next we have systemic vs. local. Systemic refers to the entire body, while local refers to a specific area. So, if you have a systemic contraindication, all massage is inappropriate. If you have a local contraindication, massage is indicated except at the area affected.
In today's post, we will go over instances of both systemic and local contraindications to help you know if massage is the right choice for you.
One kind of massage therapy that I offer which many of you may not be aware of is scar tissue therapy. We all have scars. Scar tissue is the result of your body trying to heal itself quickly, so any time we injure ourselves, scar tissue can build up even if we don't see it or are not aware of it. The larger the injury, the more scar tissue builds up. In this blog post, I will talk about what scar tissue is and how massage therapy can be used to help.
What is Scar Tissue?
As I said above, scar tissue is the result of the body trying to heal itself quickly. Let's use the analogy of a brick wall. In order to build a wall, first the bricks and mortar must be created. Once you have those, you begin by laying down some mortar and placing the bricks evenly along it. You are careful to line them up properly and apply more mortar between each brick and the next, and you smooth the mortar out making sure that it isn't sloppy. When you are finished, you have a strong wall that looks pretty nice. Your body is constantly renewing itself. Old cells die and are replaced by new ones. This happens over time and your body can make sure that all of the cells are well formed and lined up properly
Back in May, I posted a blog about things that people may get embarrassed about that their massage therapist won't judge. With any new experience it can be hard to know how to act or what to expect, and while there are a lot of things that you shouldn't worry about, there are certain niceties that really should be exercised.
Below you will find a list of do's and don't of getting a massage. If you have not followed them to this point, have no fear. All behavior and information is new to us at some point. The point is to not continue behaviors that may be seen as rude or unhelpful. Most of these are not things that people do out of malice, which is why I try not to encourage shame, but rather educate for future exchanges.
Whenever I see a new client, the first thing they do before their massage is fill out a basic health history form. Most people don't mind, but occasionally I have a client who seems very put out at the idea that I would ask for health information. I have even have clients get upset about the form, telling me that it is none of my business what conditions they have and what medications they are on. I always tell people to never trust a massage therapist who doesn't do a health intake. There is some important information that we need to know in order to best serve you, for your protection, and also at times for our own protection. For this week's blog post, I want to address some of the things that I ask for on a health history form, and explain why I need to know them.
There are a number of reasons that people don't go to get a massage when they need one. In a previous post, we discussed what to expect at your first massage, and while I hope that it helped many people to feel more comfortable about going in, I am aware that there are still many things that people may worry or feel embarrassed or self-conscious about. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't one of those people once upon a time. This week, I present you with a list of common hang ups that your massage therapist truthfully won't care about or maybe even notice.
There are a lot of massage therapists out there. With so many, how do you know you are choosing the right one? Each therapist works differently, and while many of us have similar styles, none of us is exactly the same. Whether you have received a lot of massage, or are hoping to book your first, finding the right therapist can make or break the experience for you.
Here are a 5 tips for selecting a massage therapist to work with.
I frequently get asked if I do deep tissue massage. The answer that I generally give is that I do deep tissue massage, but it may feel different than other deep tissue they have experienced. I don't believe that massage should hurt. Sometimes there are sore or tender spots, but there is a difference between tenderness and pain. Many people have that "no pain, no gain" mentality and believe that the more pain they are in after a massage, the better the massage was. This simply isn't true.
When I first started working as a massage therapist, I was working in spas. It wasn't long before I started getting assigned deep tissue massages. Not knowing much about deep tissue, I asked my colleagues, who told me that it is the same thing, you just press harder, so that is what I did. Unfortunately, therapists who do this kind of deep pressure massage, knowingly or not, only perpetuate the idea that massage should be painful. In this blog post, we will take a look at what a deep tissue massage is and what a deep pressure massage is and how they differ.
For the next installment in the Benefits of Massage Therapy series, I am going to talk a little bit about massage therapy for people who have been placed on bed rest.
There are many reasons that a person may be placed on bed rest. Usually it is for a medical condition which may be exacerbated by activity, an injury that shouldn't be moved too much at first, or when someone is under observation for a possible condition. Some people are put on full bed rest and aren't allowed to get up, while others are placed on a less strict bed rest where they are to restrict their movements and not get up too much. Some people are required to stay in a hospital or medical facility, while others may remain at home. Regardless of the reason for and amount of bed rest, or where it takes place, some form of touch therapy is a good idea for anyone who has to restrict their movement.
There are a great many people who believe that massage is something you get as a treat now and then to pamper yourself. I would like to challenge those of you who feel this way to look at it as something that can be so much more.
A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog series about the benefits of massage therapy. I focused on benefits for the body and mind, as well as on benefits of prenatal massage, postpartum massage, and infant massage. In the series I mention several times that the benefits are more prevalent in those who receive regular massage. This means coming in more than just once, and developing a schedule of massages. If you want to read more about some of the specific benefits of receiving regular massage, please refer to one of the above posts, as I won't really be talking about specific benefits in this post. Today I want to talk a little bit more about developing a good treatment plan to incorporate massage therapy into your routine in order to reap more of those benefits.
It seems like I have been seeing an increasing number of posts talking about not being allowed to do things as a patient in a hospital, or the idea that hospital staff may place certain restrictions on you. I wanted to take some time this week to talk about informed consent, it's definition, and what it means.
Writing as a doula, a lot of my experience comes from working with laboring mamas, but informed consent is something that applies to everyone. Anyone who is having any medical or alternative treatment done should know about informed consent.
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to using a combination of bodywork and education to help people live a better quality of life.