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When to Say No to Massage

Although a massage can relax sore muscles and make you feel better, there are times when you should pass

By Judith Schoolman











  • Arteriosclerosis(hardening of the arteries) - Avoid in advanced stages to avoid dislodging clots or thrombi.
  • Autoimmune (Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma) - Avoid during inflammatory stages or acute flare ups, when the skin can be painful to the touch.
  • Circulatory problems - Avoid any kind of body-warming massage, which could cause blood pressure to fall.
  • Deep-vein thrombosis – Avoid; massage increases the risk of a clot being released and traveling to the lungs.
  • Diabetes – Avoid if you have loss of sensation (diabetic neuropathy); avoid area of recent insulin injection because massage may accelerate insulin uptake.
  • Herpes - Avoid infected area because blister fluid could spread virus to the massage therapist.
  • HIV-AIDS – OK for patient, but massage therapist should wear gloves if there are skin lesions and avoid these areas.
  • Low platelet count – only very gentle massage to avoid bruising or hematoma.
  • Osteoporosis - Check with your doctor; if osteoporosis is moderate or severe, massage can cause bones to break.
  • Varicose veins – Avoid affected veins because they can be painful and the protruding area of the vein should not be manipulated





Judith Schoolman is a freelance journalist and adjunct professor of journalism at New York University and City University of New York.

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