Pathogens & Massage Therapy Precautions & Contraindications with Infectious Disease

Pathogens & Massage Therapy Precautions & Contraindications with Infectious Disease

The following is a general list of medical conditions where massage and bodywork is generally not advised/contraindicated.  Seek a physician’s advice about an individual’s specific medical condition PRIOR to providing bodywork.

Active Chicken Pox: Highly Contagious Virus – usually includes excessive skin lesions and broken skin. 

Cellulitis: Commonly Cause by a Bacterial Skin Infection 

Fever: Possible infection in the body (and potentially infectious to the therapist and their clients)

Flu/Influenza: Viral Infection of Respiratory System. HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS.

Impetigo: Bacterial Infection of the Skin.  Rash with fluid-filled blisters. HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS. Ensure all lesions are healed before massage can be considered.

Infections and/or Inflammations: Appendicitis, Bronchitis, Fungal, etc.

Someone recovering from a recent infection (i.e. bronchitis) may be “okay” for massage.  It is always best to check with their physician FIRST, prior to providing bodywork. Discontinue bodywork services immediately if client with recent infection or inflammation shows any signs of medical or physical distress.

Lymphangitis: Infection of Lymph Capillaries

Meningitis: Infection of the Meninges. Viral Meningitis is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS.

Pneumonia: Infection in the lungs.

The Pneumonia itself may not be contagious; however, the microorganisms that caused the pneumonia could be HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS. Anyone in respiratory distress is most likely contraindicated for bodywork services – check with a physician for greater information and direction.

Scabies, Mites & Lice: Parasitic Infection – HIGHLY SPREADABLE. No contact should be made until infestation is completely eradicated

Systemic Swelling/Edema: Individual could have serious organ failure, infection or other serious medical illness for systemic swelling. Obtain physician’s diagnosis, direction and approval with these clients.

Active Tuberculosis: Bacterial Infection that usually begins in the lungs but can infect other areas of the body. HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS when active. Generally considered not contagious in latent stage. Can lay dormant/latent/non-contagious for years. Seek physician approval and direction for “latent” infected clients who are coughing, or for any other concerns. 

This is a partial list of massage contraindications. For more information, please register for training with us on this website! 

To learn more, you can register for training at

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