Whether the four most often practiced massage therapies I mentioned above are used as complementary alternative medicine (also known as CAM) or any one of the other recognized eighty which are available to a lesser or greater extent, there are important points to be considered:
• No massage therapy should ever be used in place of regular or ongoing medical care.
• Massage therapy should not be the cause or the excuse to postpone visiting a medical professional for existing medical issues.
• The massage therapist’s schooling and credentials must be verified, as well as his or her experience with specific health and medical conditions.
• Any additional complementary alternative medicine (CAM) such as herbs, supplements, special diets, or other treatments which are suggested by the massage therapist must first be reviewed with a medical professional.
• Although the subject of massage therapy (how it works and why) has been studied for many years and continues to study, much of it remains within the realm of a mystery.
• If and when massage therapy is performed by a well training and experienced professional, few risks are involved, and the worst of them may be temporary pain or discomfort, bruising, swelling or an allergic reaction to the massage oils. The small number of serious injuries which have been reported were triggered by untrained hands that were not aware that certain medical conditions should not be massaged. It is, therefore, essential to consult a medical professional before undergoing massage therapy, particularly under the following circumstances:
Deep vein thrombosis
A bleeding disorder or when taking blood thinners
Damaged blood vessels
Weakened bones from osteoporosis, a recent fracture or cancer
The presence of high body temperature
Open or healing wounds, tumors, damaged nerves, an infection, severe inflammation or fragile skin
Dermatomyositis or any other skin disease