A massage without a consultation should be ringing alarm bells

You may be aware of the recent court case in the USA where a 20 year old Londoner was killed by a botched surgical procedure carried out in a hotel room (There’s a link to the story on my Facebook page, date of entry 17th October 2012).
This tragic story only goes to highlight the importance of choosing a qualified practitioner when having any treatment or cosmetic surgery.

Massage has made big strides to changing the way it’s perceived from a bit of pampering to actual treatment for health issues.
For my first massage qualification I undertook a year long course which included Anatomy & Physiology, Business & Professional studies. Sadly all too often I hear of stories of people who undertake a weekend massage course and think they are qualified to work on the general public when they are not.

In addition to my qualifications I’m also registered with the Complementary Therapists Association (CThA), they are a professional association which only allows therapists with specific high level massage qualifications to be registered with them. There are other equally good associations which insist on high standards however, there are some which allow you to join their association after only completing a weekend massage course.

I’m also registered with the Dorn Method Therapists Association (DMTA) which ensures standards for Dorn therapists and with the Manual Lymphatic drainage UK Association (MLD UK), which ensures professional standards for Vodder, Leduc, Földi and Casley-Smith qualified MLD therapists.
Being registered with these organisations means that I have to continue with professional development (PD) and keep up to date with my skills and knowledge.

Having studied anatomy & physiology my training included learning about the contraindications and the impact they can have on the body, there are some contraindications which mean that a therapist cannot massage you at all as it’s considered a possible danger to your health. That’s why when I see new clients, I go through a consultation with them as I want to ensure they are not suffering from an illness or injury that may prevent me from treating them, or may require me to contact their GP or Consultant before proceeding with the massage.

I was shocked to be told by a new client that out of the ‘hundreds of massages’ they’ve had, I was the only therapist who had ever conducted a consultation with them!
If you go for a massage then your first appointment should include a full consultation, if you’re having a half hour treatment a short consultation should be taken. Even if you’re having a mini treatment at a school or village fair for example, then you should be made aware of the standard contraindications.

If a consultation isn’t taken then you really should be asking, is this person actually qualified and insured to treat me?
If they are registered with an association then contact them and ask what are the requirements before allowing a therapist onto their register. If a therapist isn’t required to have an anatomy & physiology and they don’t have that qualification, then you need to use a different therapist.

I also use the consultation time to find out about my client and how they are not just physically but mentally and emotionally and what’s currently affecting them. This is really important as all too frequently clients book in for a deep tissue massage when this is the last thing they need and from our discussion I will tailor their massage treatment to suit them.
So the next time you book a massage treatment, don’t be afraid to ask the therapist about their qualifications and if a consultation isn’t taken then alarm bells should be ringing.

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