Sometimes illness, disease, medications, and conditions make certain massage techniques or oils not appropriate. Each therapy is different but, if you do suffer from a number of complaints or a serious illness, you may be asked to produce a letter of consent from your doctor or consultant before treatment. Therefore it is always best to mention this during the initial contact so as to avoid disappointment when you turn up to a treatment.

Massage contraindications

There are times when sports massage could be detrimental rather than beneficial to you. Contraindications to massage are:

feeling unwell
a body temperature over 100°F
acute traumas – open wounds, recent bruising, muscle tears, sprained ligaments, contusions, chilblains, burns
tumours, where there is swelling, which is inconsistent with recent bruising
diseased blood vessels – varicose veins, phlebitis, thrombosis
infectious skin disease – bacterial infection, lymphangitis, fungal infection, viral infections, herpes
if you react adversely to massage treatment
if your symptoms appear to make taking advice from a doctor advisable
diabetes – not strictly a contraindication but massage has the same effect as exercise on your blood sugar levels, so you need to have appropriate medication available

This does not mean other forms of massage or reflexology cannot be used. In fact, other treatments can be beneficial to these conditions, such as gentle, clearing massage for varicose veins.

Aromatherapy contraindications

Aromatherapy is a relatively safe treatment as long as you are in the hands of a qualified, clinical aromatherapist who will knows what oils can or, more importantly, cannot be used on certain conditions. Some oils can cause very real harm if used incorrectly: some irritate the skin; some should not be used on infants or during pregnancy; some are highly phototoxic, and so on.

Below is a list of issues that ought to be brought to your therapist’s attention before treatment is undertaken (in most cases, these conditions can be treated without medical consent – it is more a matter a personal choice): 

contraindications to reflexology requiring written medical permission or client signing an informed consent for. (A medical contraindication to reflexology means there is a reason not to treat unless permission has been gained)
cardiovascular conditions such as thrombosis, phlebitis, hypertension, hypotension, heart conditions
any condition already being treated by a GP or other complimentary therapist
nervous/psychotic conditions
acute rheumatism
recent operations
medical oedema
spastic conditions
kidney infections
trapped/pinched nerve (sciatica) inflamed nerve
any dysfunction of the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease.

Reflexology contraindications

The list below covers ailments and conditions that ought to be discussed with your therapist before undergoing any treatment”

Being under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs
fever, contagious or infectious diseases
diarrhoea and vomiting
pregnancy, first trimester
varicose veins
cuts, bruises and abrasions
skin diseases
localised swelling or inflammation
slipped disc
recent fractures (minimum three months)
scar tissue, (2 years for major operation and six months for a small scar)

Everyone is different and, even if your condition is listed, please call to discuss as it may be another treatment can be used and it also varies depending how far through treatment or recovery you are.