Articles, Client Education Series

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Client Education Series 6: Medications and Massage

April Heath

05/29/2024

When a massage therapist asks whether you’re taking medications, they need to know whether to perform the massage you booked, if the massage needs adjustments, or whether it’s simply unsafe for you to get a massage at all.

What? 

Yes, there are direct and side effects of certain medications that warrant caution when it comes to massage. Sometimes, we just need to switch it up.

For example, if you’ve booked a vigorous or stimulating massage, but you’re taking anti-anxiety medications, the therapist may simply need to switch your service to something more calming. That could be Swedish with lavender aromatherapy. 

Anticoagulants:

Blood thinners reduce the blood’s ability to clot. Clients taking blood thinners should be cautious with massage therapy because it can increase the risk of bruising or bleeding, especially if the massage involves deep pressure or vigorous techniques. 

It’s crucial for clients to inform their massage therapist if they are taking blood thinners so that the therapist can use gentler pressure and avoid techniques that may exacerbate the risk of bleeding or bruising. 

Muscle relaxants: 

These medications can cause excessive relaxation of muscles, which may increase the risk of injury during massage. Clients taking muscle relaxants should inform their massage therapist so that appropriate techniques and pressure can be used to ensure safety.

Painkillers (opioids): 

Pain medications, especially opioids, can affect a client’s sensitivity to touch and pain perception. This may alter their response to massage techniques, so it’s essential for clients to communicate any pain medication use to their massage therapist for personalized treatment planning.

Psychiatric medications: 

Certain psychiatric medications, such as antidepressants or antipsychotics, can have side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, or altered mental state. These effects may impact the client’s ability to tolerate certain massage techniques or positions safely, so it’s important to discuss medication use with the therapist beforehand.

Medications for cardiovascular conditions: 

Drugs used to manage high blood pressure, heart rhythm disorders, or other cardiovascular conditions can affect circulation and blood pressure regulation. Clients on these medications should inform their massage therapist to ensure appropriate adjustments to the treatment plan and avoid any potential risks.

Topical medications: 

Clients using topical medications, such as pain-relieving (analgesic) creams or gels, should inform their massage therapist about their use. Some topical medications may interact with massage oils or lotions, while others may cause skin sensitivity or irritation during massage.

In general, it’s crucial for clients to disclose all medications they’re taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and supplements, to their massage therapist. This information helps the therapist tailor the treatment to the client’s specific needs and minimize any potential risks or complications.

Alcohol and Hangovers:

When alcohol is in your bloodstream, a massage is contraindicated. As I’ve written, massage boosts blood circulation, so getting a massage while alcohol is in your system is a very bad idea. The massage will send the booze to your head even faster and your buzz will turn into a nightmare. It’s even worse when you’re hungover.

Conclusion

In general, it’s crucial for clients to disclose all medications they’re taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and supplements, to their massage therapist. This information helps the therapist tailor the treatment to the client’s specific needs and minimize any potential risks or complications.

Medications and Massage – leave a comment

What information from this article came as a surprise to you? Post your response in the comments. All comments are welcome and responded to.

New to my Client Education Series? Click here to read the previous post #5 Sore Muscles and Deep Tissue

Can’t wait to learn more? Click here to read #7 Osteoporosis and Massage

Be well,

April

Book Today: www.joyfulrisingspa.com

Contact: aprilheathlmt@gmail.com

Call/Text: 754.777.9437

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