Immunity and Massage
Taking a history of the immune status of every client is
recommended. A detailed allergic history should also be taken to avoid the
occurrence of an asthmatic at-tack or anaphylaxis. Certain chemicals in the
massage oils or traces of detergents in linen or even certain es-sential oils
may result in itching and rashes in allergic individuals. Therefore, proper
precautions should be taken when treating people with known allergy.
It is important for therapists to address the im-mune status of the
client coming to the clinic. Indi- viduals on dialysis, those undergoing
chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer, those with AIDS, and the elderly
are some examples of clients whose im-mune system may be depressed. Usually, a
person with depressed immunity complains of recurrent in-fections, unexplained
weight loss, and persistent fa-tigue. These clients should not receive
treatment even when the therapist has a mild infection. Conversely, it is
possible for immunocompromised individuals har-boring infections such as
tuberculosis to infect mas-sage therapists. Suitable precautions must be taken.
When a client has a disease, one primary questions that must be
addressed is, “Is this disease infec-tious?” If it is infectious, the therapist
should have enough information about the condition to decide if massage is
indicated or contraindicated. The thera-pist should be well informed about
infectious dis-eases to recognize them and avoid further harm to the client,
the therapist, and to other clients visiting the clinic. Clients with
communicable infections should not be treated when the infection is active.
Therapists can use many simple strategies to pre-vent infection.
All health professionals should con-sider immunization against diseases for
which vac-cines are available as a result of the working environment and
frequent contact with those who are ill. Care of hands such as keeping
fingernails short and frequent hand washing can be helpful dis-ease prevention.
Clean, well-ventilated clinics, with proper washing of linen and use of
disinfectants can definitely control spread of disease. One of the most
important strategies, however, is good, well-balanced nutrition; a healthy,
active lifestyle; and a positive outlook in life.