Client history includes finding out about you and the history of your ailment, aggravating factors (what makes it worse), previous diagnosis and treatment, and effectiveness of any previous treatment. It also builds up information about your general health, since there are a number of conditions which can contribute to muscular problems; a previous whiplash injury, for example, could lead to headaches or dizziness.

Your massage therapist is aware of their limitations, and is required to work within their scope of practice. Taking a client history when you first arrive will allow them to talk through all your needs to establish if it would be in your best interest to be referred to another health professional, or whether having complementary treatment (e.g. using acupuncture, chiropractic) is going to be beneficial to you. Taking the time to sit down to discuss what is causing you discomfort gives you time to become comfortable with the therapist, especially if you are new to massage therapy; it is the first step in building a rapport and trust between you both.

The following conditions should be checked out with your doctor before getting a massage:

  • Severe back pain, especially if pain is keeping you awake at night.
  • A high fever or the symptoms of a cold or flu.
  • Blood clots
  • Cancer
  • Skin conditions such as burns, cold sores, bruises, open wounds or swollen areas. You should not have a massage in those areas.
  • Pregnancy, especially during the first trimester
  • Osteoporosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Allergies (especially to nuts, as many therapists use sweet almond oil)
  • Varicose veins
  • Lymph node removal

If you have any concerns about ANY existing conditions, you should always check with your healthcare provider to see if massage therapy is an appropriate treatment for you.

Massage works well with chiropractic and acupuncture. However, you should inform the massage therapist and any other healthcare professional of the treatment you are undergoing to ensure the treatments complement each other.

Some forms of massage can leave you feeling a bit sore the next day. But massage shouldn’t ordinarily be painful or uncomfortable. If any part of your massage doesn’t feel right or is painful, speak up right away. Most serious problems come from too much pressure during massage.

Massage is all about making you more comfortable and reducing pain, if you find your massage sessions are increasing your discomfort over the long term then please let your massage therapist know immediately.

All massage therapists are trained to drape/cover their clients so that only the part of the body they are working on will be exposed. If this does not happen, you should ask to be covered or ask your therapist why you are not covered. If you are not satisfied with the answer you can terminate the appointment. More information can be found in the section Visiting a massage therapist for the first time.

Massage is a healthcare practice that needs clothes to be removed as it involves using oil, massage waxes and lotions. It is a ‘whole body’ treatment which requires direct contact between the therapist and client. It is usual for the therapist to leave the room while you undress and get on the table. It is not always necessary to remove all clothing; this depends on what your massage needs are at the time of treatment. Even with a full body massage you can leave your lower undergarments on. . More information can be found in the section ‘Visiting a massage therapist for the first time’.

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