Massage is appropriate most of the time; however, there are conditions for which it is not beneficial and is actually contraindicated. Contraindicated means inadvisable. For some conditions, massage may be contraindicated entirely, while for others, only certain types of movements or strokes are not recommended. Contraindications in massage protect the giver as well as the receiver.
Some of these conditions deal with symptoms of a disease or particular physical defects, such as abnormal body temperature, inflammation, or vein abnormalities. Others deal with skin issues. Some are specific disorders and others are more general, though equally as important. Following is a rundown of situations where massage should be avoided.
Abnormal Body Temperature and Inflammation If someone feels too hot or complains of being feverish, massage is not recommended. A fever is the body’s way of fighting off attacks to the immune system. Generally, high temperature is a sign to let the body heal itself, without help from you at that moment. Another reason for feeling heat might be inflammation in a particular area. You may be giving a massaging and find an area of the body that is noticeably hotter than anywhere else.
Do not work on the hot spot because heat indicates an abnormality. Often such an area will have swelling and sometimes even discoloration. Advise this person to see a medical practitioner. You might even see an open infection that is pus-filled or discolored. Pus is another way the body fights infection by localizing the infection to that area only.
Massage could push the infection into the bloodstream, causing a more severe illness, so do not work on the person at all. This type of infection needs medical attention. Vein Abnormalities Following are a few conditions that affect the veins for which massage needs to be thoughtfully considered on or around the area affected.
Varicose Veins Varicose veins are caused by the breakdown of the valves that allow blood to pass through the veins in one direction toward the heart. The valves act like inward opening doors, allowing blood to pass in only one direction, and keeping it from flowing backward. When valve action is faulty, blood flows back through the door, causing a bulge in the vein.