Articles, Client Education Series

stethoscope and drawing of heart with rhythm

Client Education Series 2: Massage and Heart Conditions

April Heath


Swedish massage is generally safe for most people. Keywords: Swedish, generally, and most.

We’ll explore the importance of understanding when massage is safe for individuals with cardiovascular issues, while also highlighting important contraindications and best practices.

Contraindications for Massage Therapy:

Uncontrolled Hypertension:
Deep tissue massage may elevate blood pressure temporarily, making it unsuitable for individuals with hypertension that is unmanaged.

Recent Heart Attack or Stroke:
Clients who have recently experienced a heart attack or stroke should avoid massage therapy until they have fully recovered and obtained clearance from their healthcare provider. (British Heart Foundation)

Blood Clots or Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT):
Massage therapy is contraindicated for individuals with known blood clotting disorders or a history of DVT, as massage could potentially dislodge blood clots, leading to serious complications such as pulmonary embolism. (Nashville Siragusa Laser and Vein Center)

Severe Aortic Stenosis:
In cases of severe aortic stenosis, where the heart’s aortic valve is significantly narrowed, caution should be exercised with massage therapy to avoid exacerbating symptoms or complications. 

Local Contraindication: Varicose Veins:

Varicose veins are a local contraindication for certain massage techniques due to compromised circulation and potential discomfort. Direct pressure on varicose veins during massage could exacerbate symptoms or cause damage. Therefore, massage therapists should avoid applying pressure directly over varicose veins and instead work around those veins. (Vascular & Interventional Associates)

Safe Massage Modalities and Practices:

When massage is safe for individuals with cardiovascular issues, gentle, relaxation-focused modalities such as Swedish massage or aromatherapy massage are generally recommended. These techniques promote relaxation, stress reduction, and improved circulation without placing undue strain on the cardiovascular system. 


By understanding the contraindications and best practices associated with massage therapy and cardiovascular health, clients can safely disclose their medical conditions. That’s how, together, we promote safe and effective treatment for you.

For more information on hypertension that the general public can use, here’s a video for nurses studying for their exams. I can’t emphasize enough that lifestyle and nutrition changes are the most effective for preventing hypertension. Once you’re on medications, you’re facing side effects. 

Lifestyle changes include

  • Regular massage
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Physical exercise

What changes are you going to make to improve your cardiovascular health? Leave a comment. All comments are welcome and responded to.

Missed the first post in this series? Click here for Disclosing Medication Conditions.

Want the next post now? Click here for Cancer and Massage.

Be well,


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Call/Text: 754.777.9437

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