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Posted by: Anita Tandon, 21 Nov 2013 11:25PM
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is massage contraindicated for client who had an hysterectomy about 3 months ago and has luekaemia?

Dear therapists. Hi I would appreciate any assistance/clarification in this matter. I have a potential client who is suffering from lower back pain which her GP says is muscular. Can a back massage be given, given the fact that a hysterectomy was carried out some 3 months ago plus the client has leukaemia. I know that it states for cancer, medical permission is sought, and for any operation you need to wait 6 months, however as the area of discomfort &possibly being worked on, is not directly connected to the reproductive, would massage be an option or would it be contraindicated. what about the leukaemia? what support or advice can i give the client? Any help,pointers, advice would be most welcome. Thanking you all in advance. kind regards anita


Nina Gupta
22 Nov 2013 8:06AM

Anita, you have answered your own question... both this person's recent major operation and their currently active cancer require you to refer them for medical consent prior to treating them. The sites of the operation or cancer do not make it OK for YOU to take responsibility for medical decisions (unless you are also medically qualified as a doctor?). Your obligation for the safety of your potential client is to refer them to a medically qualified power for sign-off prior to massage treatment. You risk damaging your client & bringing a law-suit upon yourself (& your insurance company) if you do not. In many cases oncologists sign-off massage as beneficial to cancer patients, but still, you are required to go down that proper route of inquiry rather than deciding for yourself what you think a Dr would say. With some blood cancers you are dealing with impaired immunity & a tendency to easy-bleeding. Dependent on the exact type, you may also have instability of major bones like the pelvis or spine... An hysterectomy is a major operation with potentially serious implications for massage. Please visualise the location of the lower back in relation to the site of the uterus... and imagine pressing on that with your client prone. 6 months is the time required between minor surgery and massage, I think you'll find the period for major operations like hysterectomy is actually 2 years. In either case, 3 months is not enough for you to proceed without medical consent. If you are worried about loosing your potential client due to not massaging them, you will find that they appreciate you safe-guarding their health in the appropriate manner. Taking medical decisions yourself would be reckless, illegal and will not be something you are thanked for, by anybody. It is perfectly OK to defer massage treatment until somebody who is medically qualified has signed it off. You are not qualified to do that.
Anita Tandon
25 Nov 2013 9:30PM

Dear Nina Thank you for your detailed advice. It was very reassuring to get your comments which helped to confirm what I was thinking. Thank you once again. Kind Regards Anita
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