Massage Therapist as First-Line Health Advocate: Trained in Observing Signs of Pathology, Therapists Notice And Report Health Issues Before Anyone

Massage Therapists, whether employed in a spa setting, or working with a mobile company like ours, are an invaluable part of your health care team.  Chances are, if you are a regular massage therapy client, you see the massage therapist more than your doctor.  And of course, that’s a good thing, indicative of even better things!  As a result, your Massage Therapist may be the first health care professional to observe and report to you that something might be of issue.

Of course, a Massage Therapist is not a doctor, and isn’t qualified to make diagnoses.  If your therapist is doing this, it might be a good idea to start looking now for someone new, and quickly.  Massage Therapist training includes a lengthy module on Pathology. This includes identifying all sorts of skin issues, from tinea to melanoma.  And that’s important, because a massage therapist, working on a client’s  back every two weeks, can easily be the only one in that person’s  life in a position to notice changes in a mole on a client’s back.

Unless you are a doctor, nurse, or any other highly specialized health care professional, chances are, your massage therapist has more training in identifying skin and body issues by observation than you do.  While diagnosing is definitely not something any Massage Therapist should be doing,  bringing a client’s attention to an issue that a therapist may consider worthy of more attention, or outright suggesting that the client see a doctor certainly is.

Massage Therapists are not trying to overstep their bounds or delve into the field of medicine when they make such suggestions regarding their visual, or tactile, observations.  In fact, during schooling, Massage Therapists are instructed to be vocal about anything that they feel, based on their observation and training, may be a cause for concern.  If you feel that this is inappropriate, that is your right, however, consider that the Massage Therapist was only doing what she was taught in school.

Reporting potential health issues to the client is something therapists should be doing, no matter where the massage session is conducted, whether it’s at home massage or corporate chair massage, whether it’s a fifteen minute session or ninety.  Of course, a Massage Therapist should be discreet about talking with a client, if there are others present.  Not only is this good manners, but it is the law.  As such information pertains to a person’s health, it is protected, and private.

In summary, it is fair to say that this is an aspect of Massage Therapy service that most people don’t consider at all, even though it is a valuable extra.  Having the training to recognize anything from boils to blastomas is certainly worth something to someone.  Probably, in the course of most Massage Therapists’ careers, each has reported to a client at least once.  This should be viewed as being dedicated to protocol, and not any attempt to overstep boundaries.

(C) Copyright 2014 H Miller, Mountainside On Site Massage Therapy

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