Assessment Precautions and Contraindications | Massage Therapy

Published: Mar 3, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Assessment by massage therapist

In this post, we don’t talk about massage precautions and contraindications (that rather belongs to the specific type of massage or bodywork therapy you practice), but about client assessment precautions and contraindications.

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It’s important to reach a situation of consent with a client about what we want to do or ask during the several assessment phases.

Typically, therapists will engage in a more or less intimate and private relationship with the client and it needs to be absolutely clear for both sides what’s going to happen, what can be expected, and if it’s allowed to happen.

In addition, there are some assessment domains in which therapists need to be extra gentle and cautious.

For instance, when we perform a Range of Motion Assessment, Movement Assessment, Pain Assessment, or Whole-Body Assessment we need to be careful not to (additionally) hurt or injure clients who may already have pains.

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In the case of female clients, it’s also important to know if they are menstruating, pregnant, or postpartum. It’s therefore important to have done the Intake Assessment and the Medical History Assessment before the assessments just mentioned.

Another noteworthy issue concerns the emotional or psychological domain, such as when we perform a Psychosomatic Assessment or Emotional and Psychological Assessment. In these cases, we need to be extremely careful not to add stress, anxiety, and distress to a maybe already traumatic situation.

It’s also crucial to know beforehand if there are any emotional traumas — either sexual or non-sexual — that maybe need to be taken into account in some of the assessments, which then would typically need a Trauma Informed Approach.

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