Before your first massage, you will be asked to fill out an online intake form. This questionnaire will cover your health history, any medications you are currently taking and any medical conditions you may have.
You might be wondering why we need to know such detailed, personal information that you typically only discuss with your doctor. Are we just being nosy?
While it may seem like a hassle or an invasion of your privacy, there IS a reason that we need to know this information – not only does it protect you from potential injury during your massage, but it also means we can better personalize the massage to meet your needs. This helps to ensure that when you leave our office, you feel better than ever.
What is a contraindication, and what does it have to do with my massage?
Occasionally, we come across clients with specific health conditions that should not be receiving massage therapy – meaning the massage could actually be harmful to them. This is referred to as a contraindication. There are two different classifications of contraindications:
Relative contraindication means that caution should be used when performing a certain procedure. This means that the massage therapy session can happen, but that the therapist will need to adjust the techniques and particulars of the session (like positioning, pressure, or massage products used) to stay safe and effective.
Absolute contraindication is the term used when massage could cause harm, and should not be applied at all. This is a rare circumstance, but it does happen.
While typically relaxing and healing, there are times when a massage can be painful or even dangerous for various health-related reasons. In most cases, we can proceed with the massage, but we’ll ask some follow-up questions to ensure safety and effectiveness.
Examples of massage contraindications include:
- Varicose veins
- Undiagnosed lumps or bumps
- Bruising, cuts, abrasions, and even sunburns
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems
Fear not: Not all of the above listed medical conditions mean you have to give up your regular session with your massage therapist. In fact, for some of these conditions, a massage can have significant soothing effects. However, it does mean that your therapist will need to provide specific care. This is one of the main reasons that it is crucial that your massage therapist knows your medical history.
Sicknesses, such as colds, the flu, skin infections, or the presence of a fever are all reasons to hold off on getting a massage. We suggest waiting to get a massage until you are feeling better to maximize the benefits and for the safety of you and your therapist. If you’re experiencing cold or flu symptoms, we offer a flexible rescheduling policy.
Why does my massage therapist need to know what medications I am taking?
There are certain medications that have an effect on your body’s ability to heal and process correctly. Your massage therapist should be aware of these medications, so that they can make any necessary adjustments.
For example, a firm deep tissue massage could be very dangerous if you are taking blood thinners or if you have low bone density or thin skin due to taking corticosteroids for an extended period of time. If you have recently taken chemotherapy medication, we may suggest waiting to get a massage or refer you to an oncology massage therapist so you receive the safest treatment.
In almost all cases, we can make adjustments to keep your massage safe and effective, but the key is to keep us fully informed.
In conclusion, even if you think a detail may be irrelevant, it’s smart to complete the intake form entirely and honestly to guarantee we provide the best service possible.