… or, Why I’m asking you all those Health Questions.
Before your first massage at my office, I’m going to need some information from you about your medical history. I’ve got a questionnaire that will ask about what medications you take and medical conditions you have, and various questions about your health history.
So why is this? Am I being nosy? Why do I need to know such detailed, personal information that you may only otherwise share with your doctor?
While it may seem like a hassle or invasion of privacy to fill out an intake form, there’s a great reason I want to know so much about your health! Knowing your medical history not only protects you from potential injury during your massage, but it also means I can better personalize your massage to your needs. This ensures that when you leave the massage table, you feel better than ever.
What is a contraindication, and what does it have to do with my massage?
Every so often, it turns out that for some people with specific health situations, massage could potentially be harmful. This is referred to as a contraindication, and there are two different classifications of those for massage therapy.
- Relative Contraindication: Relative contraindication means that caution should be used when performing a certain procedure. In the world of massage therapy, this means that a client can generally receive their massage. But I will need to modify my techniques and particulars of the session (like positioning, pressure, &/or products used) to stay safe & effective.
Some conditions just mean that we should avoid massage to a particular area of the body (such as a broken bone). These are local contraindications.
- Absolute Contraindication: Absolute contraindication is the term used when massage could cause harm, and should not be applied at all. This is pretty rare, but it happens.
Here are some examples of conditions I’ve seen with clients, which can be contraindications for massage therapy:
- Varicose veins
- Undiagnosed lumps or bumps
- High-risk pregnancy
- Bruising, cuts, abrasions, and even sunburns
- High blood pressure
- Cancer (I specialize in oncology massage, and in many cases can work with you)
- Heart problems
Fear not: Not all of the above listed medical conditions rule out massage for you.
In fact, for some of these conditions, massage can have major soothing effects.
However, I will need to give you specific care. This is one of the main reasons it’s vital to share information with me about your medical history.
Also, colds, the flu, skin infections, or the presence of a fever are all reasons to wait to get a massage until you are feeling better. Read more about my cancellation policy here.
“Why do you need to know what medications I am taking?”
There are some medications that have an effect on your body’s ability to heal and process correctly and I need to be aware of what you’re taking so I can make adjustments.
For example, firm pressure in a massage could be dangerous if you are taking blood thinners. Or, if you’ve been on corticosteroids for a long time, you may have low bone density or thin skin as a result.
If you have been affected by cancer, we will discuss your side effects and make modifications for the treatments you’ve been receiving.
Again, in almost all cases, we can make adjustments to keep your massage safe and effective for you. The key is to keep me fully informed.
In a nutshell, even if you think a detail may be irrelevant, it’s smart to complete my intake form entirely & honestly. That helps me create the best and safest massage, just for you.
Oh, by the way… don’t be concerned if it takes a few minutes at your first appointment to go over the details of your health history. I’ll probably have some followup questions to ask, and you can in turn ask me any questions that you have.
But, since I’m an independent business and not a franchise, this consultation time doesn’t take away from your massage time on the table. Your 60-minute massage should still be a 60-minute massage. That’s my intention… to make your session the best that it can be for you!