Contraindications: When is Massage Unsuitable

When your client comes to you, complaining that he or she has shock, hypertension, pneumonia, or a wound, do you carry on with the massage? You would not a lay a hand on them because they are suffering from conditions that are categorized as contraindications. Clients with contraindications should not seek you in the first place, but if they do, you should directly tell them the reasons why you cannot provide a massage.


Even though you may have knowledge of certain massage techniques that you can use, caution is advised. However, some clients with a contraindication have found relief after the massage therapists applied a certain massage technique. Still, in other cases, massage techniques have further aggravated the condition of the client.


Therefore, to be on the safe side of things, it is best that you do not apply any massage techniques on clients with contraindications. With experience and knowledge, you will learn when a massage would not be the right treatment for the client. Moreover, if your client is extremely worse off, he or she will likely be under the supervision of a physician.


You can obtain your client’s medical history records by talking with his or her physician.  For now, to get you a head start on your contraindications, refer to the list below:

  • Fever

Take the temperature of your client before beginning to massage them. If the temperature reaches above 99.4 degrees Fahrenheit, do not proceed or continue if you feel the temperature has risen while in the middle of a massage.

  • High Blood Pressure

Confer with your client’s physician, and only proceed with their blessing.

  • Acute Infectious Disease

If the cold or flu is severe, hold off on the massage oil.

  • Acute Inflammation

Inflammation of joints such as in arthritis are considered as contraindications, but at times, you can relieve the pain in your client’s joints by massaging the reflex or proximal region of the body.

  • Tissue Damage

The redness, pain, swelling, and heat of the muscle are an indication of tissue damage.

  • Bacterial Infestation

Visible pus is a clear indication that you should not be massaging any area of the client’s body.

  • Osteoporosis

Elderly clients with osteoporosis need to bring you the consent from their physician in order for you to massage them.

  • Varicose Veins

This is also referred to as broken blood vessels and you should not proceed with the massage. In some cases, you can lightly massage your client in the area that is proximal to the affected area.

  • Phlebitis

If your client exhibits signs of inflamed veins, tell them the reason why you cannot massage them.

  • Aneurysm

Clients with dilated artery or blood vessel are not a candidate for massage therapy.

  • Acute Hematoma

Internal blooding is a serious condition, and instead of coming to a masseuse for a massage, the client should directly check him or herself into a hospital.

  • Edema

Client with edema have excessive amounts of fluid in the tissue. You should only massage them if his or her physician has given you the green light.

  • Cancer

This is self-explanatory, as everyone knows the seriousness of the illness. If a cancer patient is in need for a relaxing massage, he or she should get the consent of their physician first. After consent massage can be a wonderful addition to a cancer care plan.

  • Hernia

If your client has a ruptured hernia, do not massage them.


Regardless of what ailments your client suffers from, you should only proceed if they have permission from their physician to come to you. The last thing you want is a lawsuit for not knowing that you should not have proceeded with the massage of a client with contraindications.