Do I HAVE To Fill Out Paperwork?

October 2, 2019 | Jennifer Murphy

Before your first massage, I’m going to ask you about your medical history.

I’ve got an intake form that takes just a few minutes before your massage gets started. It’ll ask about what medications and medical conditions you have, and a whole other stack of questions about your health history.

So why is this? Am I just being nosy? Why do you care what medications I take?

While it may seem like a hassle or too much information to share on an intake form, there’s a great reason I want to know so much about your health: Knowing your health history not only protects you from potential injury during your massage, but it also means I can better customize your massage session. This just makes sure that when you leave the massage table, you feel totally relaxed and amazing.

Sometimes, turns out that for some people with specific health situations, massage could actually be not such a good idea. These are called contraindications. I usually refer to them as one of two things: Local contraindication and (you guessed it) contraindication.

Indication for Contraindications

Local Contraindication: This means there’s an area that shouldn’t be massaged but the rest of the body is fine. Some examples would be if someone has a toe fungus or bruises. Small areas that can be worked around without much disruption of your massage.

Contraindication: This means a person shouldn’t be given a massage without a Dr's permission. These are pretty rare to run into, but hey, it happens. An example might be a pregnant woman who has had previous trouble with preeclampsia. Or maybe someone with a fever or super sick.

Why does my massage therapist need to know what medications I am taking?

While typically relaxing and pain healing ( and also awesome), there are times when a massage can be painful or honestly even done at all, for various health-related reasons. In most cases, this means we can proceed with the massage, but I’ll ask some follow-up questions to keep it safe and effective.

Examples of massage contraindications include:

  • Varicose veins
  • Undiagnosed lumps or bumps
  • Pregnancy
  • Bruising, cuts, abrasions, and even sunburns
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart problems
  • Epilepsy

However, Do Not Fear: 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, massage can have major soothing effects (hello itchy eczema!!). However, it does mean that your therapist will need to give you specific care. This is one of the main reasons it’s vital your massage therapist knows 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. My general cancellation policy is a 2-hour notice. No show or no call usually is a payment of 50% of the session fee.

Why does my massage therapist 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, a firm deep tissue massage could be very 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.

Again, in almost all cases, we can make adjustments to keep your message safe and effective, the key is to keep me fully informed.

In a nutshell, even if you think a detail may be irrelevant, It’s probably not. Let’s play it safe and complete the intake form entirely. In the end, this gives me the clearest picture of how to create the best massage session personalized for you.