Both massage contraindications and massage endangerments should be your first step in the massage learning process. It's important to have a rough guideline as to the safety of massage while considering any health conditions the person you're massaging may have. Remember as you learn massage online you're absent the benefit of an instructor shadowing your activities, so always err on the side of caution. If you absolutely don't know if it's safe to do massage then don't do it. Safety is first and foremost.
Any pain or condition that you are unsure of is a massage contraindication. Get a diagnosis before massaging.
The contents on this page is not medical advice. It's purely a guideline for contraindications and not a complete list. For specifics unique to the person you are massaging seek advice from a physician or other qualified professional.
Ideally, the use of anything covered in this website is generally for healthy people. Also, if you should happen to be massaging a friend who's state of health may not be totally known, be sure to ask if they're being treated by a health care provider. By asking this it may spur them to recall a condition they may have forgotten to tell you.
Trust your instincts. You are touching somebody's body so take great care. If something doesn't feel or seem right to you, then it probably isn't.
A massage contraindication is a treatment or procedure that is inadvisable. Contraindications are either absolute or relative. This means that under some situations massage is absolutely not advised – SHOULDN'T BE DONE AT ALL, while other situations it may be OK to massage with modification, moderation, special restrictions, approval from a doctor, or otherwise subject to judgment or discretion. These are called relative or local massage contraindications. It could be that it's ok to get a massage, but you're locally restricted from massaging a particular area. For instance, a recent sprain, skin rash, etc. absolute massage contraindications – are cut and dry. However, to list all the caveats of your relative contraindications would be quite lengthy and still require some judgment and/or possible assessment skills. Going to a local massage workshop to supplement what you learn online is a good idea. Medications can be affected by massage, so yet another reason why it's a good idea to communicate what you're doing with a physician. As well, some medications may alter how you do your massage or cause massage not to be indicated such as blood thinners.
By attending a workshop locally you're able to get a first hand and specific look at any concerns by a trained professional. Many massage schools have a day of massage where people wanting to learn massage can go to get basic instruction and it's often very affordable. I have often invited friends or loved ones of clients into the therapy room in order to teach what is safe and effective for at home care. This allows me to address any safety issues to the family member on the spot. There's not only a convenience or cost savings factor, but strategies for care are better employed on a more short and frequent basis.
I can't emphasize enough for those serious about getting into massage to take an anatomy and physiology course. It makes it so much easier to understand contraindications. Again this isn't a comprehensive list of massage contraindications. There's just too many pathologies to list each and every possible thing that exists.
For those wanting to learn contraindications with online flash cards.
Do you have to learn anatomy to be a massage therapist? Yes, to become licensed for massage therapy one must generally have a requisite number of hours of anatomy determined by jurisdiction. Online courses for anatomy exist, but aren't generally accepted for licensing purposes. However, online exposure to the materials can be a useful tool simply because it's accessible 24/7. Also, it's not entirely a bad idea to hear things from other instructors who may have alternate ways of explaining things.