What's with all this medical questions? I am just here for a massage...
Ever wonder why a massage therapist asks so many questions? We are taught to do not harm, and with that goes all the medical information and contraindication that we learn in massage school. We also gain much knowledge with many conditions with the additional classes that we take after massage school. This also helps seasoned therapists with determining if massage is right for your body. With this added education we are able to work some areas that are considered not advised for a therapist without added education for evaluating the area or how to work with a condition or medication.
It is common for a massage therapist to do intake forms for new clients, just like we are taught to ask if there is anything new at each appointment. It is always a great idea to update all medical professionals of any medical changes including your medications. NEVER Lie on an intake for just to be able to have the massage your looking for. We take this sort of thing very seriously.
Lets go over a few things and check out some examples of why
There is many myths surrounding weather a woman should receive massage in her first trimester. This is mainly a large caution as so pregnancies fail and the profession is careful not be linked should a woman miscarry. Massage does not cause miscarriages to happen. So that is why you will find some out there whom will massage a newly pregnant lady and others that choose to air to caution. Although that being said, there needs to be caution used for any medical conditions that happen along the way. If you are considered a high risk pregnancy seek out a massage therapist that has additional education in the area of pregnancy. There is many conditions that are just not safe to have massage like preclampsia. There is many massage therapists that have specialization in pregnancy massage Hollie Kunesh is one and is located in Waterville. Here at Laurel Tree we know some basics but many times will refer out for pregnancy massages. We believe in giving our clients the best of care, even if they leave us for specialized care that will help them feel better in their bodies. There is also great support community with Doula's and there is a special group that meets once a month in the Fairfield area. (PROVIDE LINK HERE) You can check her out on Facebook and they have a wonderful network of many professionals to help you with all those questions surrounding pregnancy, another reason to find someone who specializes in a area as they know the support crews that are there for you!
This is another area that should not be taken lightly. This is an area that new therapist are not always familiar with and a seasoned therapist can usually work around and find a therapy that might fit for you. I had a regular client that use to come in for Ashiatsu and loved the deep work. Her medical information had changed and can no longer receive ashi due to being on, Heprin which is, a blood thinner due to heart issues. This change in her medical conditions changed Ashi from being a therapy that was safe for her to one that would be very dangerous for her body. Although she was able to have alternative therapies. See, Ashiatsu pushes more blood through the system and with being on a blood thinner could increase the output and/or intake to the heart, thus overworking it. There are many that I could list although I think this is a good example.
Another condition that is being more seen is people who have kidney issues. When there is a problem in one area of the body after time we just think of it as something we "deal" with. Kidneys have a big job to do in our bodies. It is important to know there is times with Kidneys issues that a massage is contraindicated (meaning its not a good idea for work) as I mentioned earlier sometimes there is alternative therapies a massage therapist can do with proper additional education. Cupping is a therapy along with ashi that would not be recommended with a person with Kidney diseases. The kidneys need to filter and do their job, pushing around blood and fluids sometimes with kidney issues swedish and deep tissue massage can also be contraindicated. Some clients have come in with Dr notes stating that massage is deemed okay by that medical professional. Even at this point a massage therapist can decline to work on a client. It is always at the decision of the LMT and their knowledge of the body.
An additional thing that is VERY important in a intake form is your medication history. Medications play a huge factor in how we feel. Even though medictions are prescribed by your Dr., your massage therapists needs to know of them all. Weather they are a pharmaceutical or holistic supplement they all affect how our systems function. I can give you two examples of over the counter medicines can change how a massage is considered. Wintergreen essential oil and ginger. Both thin the blood when used in a certain amount. This coupled with massage that boosts blood flow can be too much on the system. A massage therapist should also know if you are on pain medications, pain medication alter the way you perceive pain. SO you are no longer able to judge pressure and depth of touch because the medication still masks your pain. Even if you feel the pain is still there with the medication the pain is likely dulled or you would not continue to take it.
This is a area I usually get the look, really you need to know about this stuff! How does that pertain to my massage? Well lets take a look at scar tissue and how our bodies heal. First off when one area of the body is altered or cut into the body tries to balance itself again. Scar tissue forms to support the body in this adventure. Ever notice after a surgery that your body is stiffer and moves slower. The body takes time to find a new way to hold itself. Abdominal surgeries are great for causing low back pain. (Referred pain). Some therapists are trained in dealing with scar tissue either with traditional hands on approach or with massage cupping and can help reduce the tension, bring back sensation to an area (like after histercotomys or C sections). Massage Cupping is really great at promoting healthy healing in tissues even after dental surgeries.
So overall there is many conditions of the human body. Some may be supportive of massage and benefit from, others can cause serious complications and your massage therapist should be able to decphier if massage is a good fit for you! So next time you fill out a intake form, take a moment to think about all you do with your body. We consider your job, how you use your body. To what you put into your body for medications. All the things we ask about is to consider why your body is reacting and moving the way it does. You are paying us to find a new way for your body to hold itself in a more comfortable state, let us make sure that we are doing it safely for you!