Massage Therapy and the Skin (Part II)

Last week we wrote a post about an article in the AMTA’s Massage Therapy Journal about massage therapy and the skin, describing how the article does a good job of listing what therapists should look for when massaging and doing an intake of their clients’ skin.

This week, I want to continue our discussion of the article, as it really does a good job detailing common ailments of the skin that massage clients may have and what that means for the massage therapist (indeed, 11 of the article’s 14 pages – including pictures! – are dedicated to this).

Check out the article to find out more about bacterial conditions, including folliculitis (inflammation of hair follicle(s)), furuncles (boils), impetigo (skin infection with blisters), and cellulitis (an infection that features warm, sweaty skin), among others. Also included are viral infections like warts (and how to distinguish them from calluses), the contagious condition of molluscum contagiosum, and shingles, among others. Fungal conditions are covered too!

The article looks at how to recognize each condition, whether or not it is contagious, and whether or not massage is contraindicated. Not surprisingly, massage is almost always contraindicated, although sometimes the contraindication is only localized to affected areas of the skin, meaning the rest of the massage can go on.

While I’m sure most of us would avoid massage of clearly infected skin, I hope the article and our Blog postings give you more confidence in explaining to clients with an infection/skin condition why you had to stop a massage, and what they should do to treat themselves.

Also, don’t let yourself take for granted, or ignore, your clients and their healthy skin, or miss the opportunity to help them improve their skin’s health. Please comment if you have any suggestions for therapists about how they might improve the health of their clients’ skin.

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