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
- 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.