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Health & Safety

Comfort, protection and security

Massage is generally safe, however there is a list of conditions where massage may only proceed with expert knowledge. Beginners must be aware that there are many people with conditions or contraindications where massage may be harmful, hence the importance of a pre-massage interview to ascertain the health status of the person you are about to treat.

For massage to be an enjoyable experience, a relaxed atmosphere and cleanliness are essential. Your massage space must also be clean and free from obstructions.

Your own hygiene is vital and ideally it's good take to shower before giving a massage. If you can't take a shower, at least scrub your hands and ensure your finger nails are clean and smooth. Nails don't have to be short, but they must be smooth and clean.  Note that after wahing in preparation, if you touch any animal, wash your hands again before you commence or resume any massage.

Remember to remove all your own jewellery, rings, pendants or anything which may dangle or drag on the person you are massaging for both safety and comfort. Rings may seem innocuous, but they can cause discomfort to the person you are massaging.


  • Acute Injury
  • Allergy to massage oils (mediums)
  • Cancer
  • Dermatitis/Excema/Psoriasis
  • Gastro-intestinal complaints, gastritis, enteritis
  • Fever
  • Heart Disease
  • Hematoma
  • High Blood Pressure / Hypertension
  • Inflammation
  • Malignant Melanoma
  • Open wounds or weeping rashes
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Thrombophlebitis, Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Shyness, if the person you're massaging is to shy to undress, a clothes on massage is advised.
  • Skin conditions like psoriasis, athletes foot and dermatitis
  • Stroke
  • Systemic infections
  • Varicose Veins

While the list of Contraindications may seem extensive, some of these conditions will benefit from being massaged by a well trained and competent therapist. But if you are starting out on the massage path, it is best to not massage anyone who is not in good health lest you cause accidental harm and make yourself liable.

During a massage it's very difficult to hurt anyone and the risks are few, but here is a list of what can go wrong.

  • Allergic reaction to your massage medium or essential oil
  • Excess pressure causes pain
  • Getting oil in the eyes
  • Transmitting an infection
  • Bruising or scratching from nails, watches, rings or jewellery so to avoid this, remove all watches, rings, jewellery and any dangly bits for ease of working and client comfort.


  • Discuss the clients health and concerns prior to commencing treatment
  • Ensure you use clean linen
  • Be clean yourself with well manicured nails and remove all rings and jewellery.
  • Have the client shower before treatment and remove all rings and jewellery.
  • Avoid massaging damaged skin or where there is infection present
  • Essential oil added to your carrier oil acts as a sterilant
  • The thin spidery varicose veins on the elderly are the most likely to rupture and be soft and ensure your nails do not catch as bleeds are difficult to stop.

Regularly get feedback on how your client is feeling and the pressure you are using.

Essential oils to avoid during pregnancy:
Anise, Bay, Basil, Camphor, Caraway, Carrot, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Clove, Comfrey, Cypress, Fennel, Hyssop, Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram, Mugwort, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Oregano, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sag, Sassafras, Tansy, Thuja, Thyme, Wintergreen, Wormwood and Yarrow.

Oils to avoid in first trimester are Chamomile, Frankincense, Geranium, Melissa and Rose.

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