Contraindications for Indian Head Massage

Contraindications are signs or symptoms indicating that a treatment should not be carried out or that certain areas should be avoided. Signs are things that we may notice about someone (such as hair loss) whereas symptoms are things that a person complains of or will report if appropriate questions are put to them. If you are a massage therapist, contraindications should be checked thoroughly in the initial consultation and re-checked each time a person comes in again for treatment.

From a safety viewpoint, if a person presents with a contagious disorder, it can be passed on to the therapist and others and the condition may be worsened by treatment. Similarly, any therapist suffering from a contagious disorder should not carry out treatments until the condition has been treated and cleared. From a comfort viewpoint, if someone is experiencing pain, they may be unable to relax and enjoy the benefits of the treatment. Most importantly, if anyone suffers harm due to your negligence, it reflects badly on your professionalism and may lead to legal action being taken against you.

Levels of contraindication

The list of (or indeed any form of massage) is not completely fixed, although some therapists wish that it were! Some reasons not to treat are very obvious, but others will depend on factors such as the severity of the condition, the size of area affected and sometimes the age of the person being treated. If you are a qualified therapist, the knowledge you acquire through your training and experience, as well as common sense and the guidelines of any professional organisations to which you belong, should help you to choose the appropriate course of action.

Some contraindications are total, meaning that treatment should not be carried out until the condition has completely cleared. These include serious illnesses; infectious diseases passed around in the air through coughs and sneezes; and contagious diseases passed by direct contact, such as touching the infected area. Others are local contraindications, meaning that treatment may be carried out but certain areas should be avoided.

Contraindications for Indian Head Massage Photo Gallery




Other presenting ccontraindications for Indian Head Massageonditions may be treated following advice from the individual’s medical practitioner. This advice can be sought in writing by the therapist, or verbally by the client, who should sign a form to state that advice was obtained. If medical advice cannot be obtained, clients must indemnify their condition in writing prior to treatment (i.e. specify the condition, and agree that all aspects of the treatment have been fully explained and that they agree to have the treatment). However, it is important that a therapist knows when treatment should definitely not be given and that they do not treat in this case, even if the person wishes the treatment to go ahead. When liaising with medical practitioners, be aware that another practitioner’s insurance may not cover them to give consent to complementary therapy treatments. Therapists should make it clear that they are seeking advice about the suitability of the proposed treatment and should include literature on Indian Head Massage, including its methodology, benefits, contraindications and effects. A doctor cannot be expected to give advice about a treatment of which they have no knowledge. If a client who comes to you for massage is already being treated by a medical doctor or another practitioner for a particular condition, you should refer to them before treating the client.

Some conditions can be treated, but may require additional caution during treatment.

The contraindications and precautions for Indian Head Massage are outlined in this section. They should be included in a confidential pre-treatment questionnaire, which you should give to all clients to complete before their first treatment. You will find a sample questionnaire on page 51.

Total contraindications

Treatment should not be carried out until these conditions are completely cleared.

High temperature or fever

This is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection and is thought to be the body’s natural defence mechanism as it tries to reach a temperature in which the virus or bacteria cannot survive. Fever can also be a symptom of certain blood disorders, respiratory problems, psychological or emotional disorders, as well as dehydration, teething, and the after-effects of immunisations. These can trigger the immune system to produce chemicals that affect the normal functioning of the hypothalamus, the heat-regulating centre in the brain.

When fever is present, the circulation is already over-stimulated as the body works hard to combat infection, so it should not be further stimulated by massage.

Infectious diseases

If someone presents with an infectious or contagious disease they should not be treated because of the risk of spreading the infection. Examples are heavy colds, flu, tuberculosis, chicken pox, measles and mumps.

Skin or scalp infections

Contagious conditions on the skin and scalp should be avoided because of the risk of crossinfection. These include: infestations such as pediculosis capitis (head lice) and scabies (tiny itch mite) fungal infections such as ringworm of the body (tinea corporis) or ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis)

Diarrhoea and vomiting

The person will not feel like (nor will they benefit from) having treatment in this case. If they do not already know the cause, they should be advised to seek it.

Local contraindications

In these cases, treatment may be carried out, but certain areas should be avoided.

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