I have a rash. Can I get a massage?

August 10 2016


Occasionally, I get a call/email/text from a client saying they have a rash and asking if it's OK to keep their massage appointment. Having developed both a heat rash AND contact dermatitis (from trumpet vine) while on vacation last week (and having to cancel my own massage appointment for later this week), I thought it would be a good time to review protocols.


If you have a rash, I almost always recommend that we reschedule your massage appointment.


Rash of unknown origin

 If you do not know the source of the rash, it is imperative that you not receive massage. It could be contagious - I could spread it around your body, contract the rash myself, and even spread it to other clients. Bad news and bad karma. As my doctor eloquently says : "That's just a damned nuisance."


Rash of known origin

This includes contact dermatitis (poison ivy, etc.) or even rashes/hives due to food sensitivities, dyes, perfumes, etc. Massage can worsen these types of reactions even if we avoid the area where the rash is located. Because massage is a circulatory modality, it could further increase your body's inflammatory response. Protocol says no - until you are well into a course of treatment (such as steroids) and have a doctor's OK.  Safety first!


Chaffing/skin irritation

This isn't a rash as much as it is an abrasion (like a scrape on your knee). Assuming it's from something such as rubbing from a new piece of clothing (and not an allergy to dyes), then we can avoid the area and you can otherwise receive massage as normal.


It's always better to be safe than sorry! Save the massage for when you are well into the healing process and your body is ready to receive the work. And rash or not, regular visits with a dermatologist to check moles and other skin variations are always a good idea.


© 2016 Katherine Ferranti LMT

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