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.