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Posted by: Marianne Free Allitt, 4 May 2012 10:31PM
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The Bends

One of my clients went diving last week and now has the Bends - he's been in the decompression chamber but still wants a massage in about 2 weeks time - I don't think it's wise..... I don't actually understand the Bends but has anyone else got any experience, advice etc? I think it's an air bubble - it's in his head he said. I imagine it should be treated like a blood clot and AVOID until a certain length of time has passed etc....


Nicki Lee
4 May 2012 10:51PM

Wow, that's pretty specialised! I certainly haven't come across it. My general rule of thumb is, have the doctors restricted exercise? However for anything this complex I would want doctor assurance, and of course when in doubt just don't treat. I've had to turn clients away before because I wasn't sure of safety and they don't always like it but I believe they respect my decision and that I'm looking out for their welfare. I'd be very interested in what you find out about this. FYI, if you are on Linked In, there are some really good massage forums with therapists from all over the world. If you post your question there, possibly Aussie or other therapists from popular dive areas would be able to give you some answers. (Anyone can join Linked In, but if you'd like me to send you an invitation and point you to some good forums, just send me an email.) Best of luck, Nicki
Giuseppe Tomaselli
4 May 2012 11:04PM

It is a gas buble which is trapped somewhere in the body due to a diver surfusing too quickly and causing the gas buble to enlarge before it has had time to be exchanged via osmosy. I used to be a Navy diver and, as a commanding officer of the diving base I was at, I had to spend many weekends in charge of the decompression chamber because divers where not fillowing basic rules. If the air bubke is still in his head he would be under observation and not allowed to go anywhere as you rightly said, it is to be treated as a clot (which is what it is anyyway). Get a doctor certificate which states that all is clear. This sould be the case for him to be able to ask for a massage and not a very sttong pain killer (if he would be able to talk). I had only two cases of people with clots in their head and both died. Protect yourself from any consequence. Good luck
Tracey Taylor
4 Sep 2012 10:44AM

The Bends is not just caused by a diver surfacing too fast, it can be cused by a number of different issues, such as tiredness, repeated dives, poor cylinder fills etc. As a diver myself, and a remedial massage therapist I would seriously suggest that you DO NOT massage this client until he has a written all clear from the Decompression Chamber. There will be a certain length of time before he will be allowed back in the water, massage may speed this up, but at the end of the day, it's a nasty risk to take. Please do be very careful. My suggestion is to contact a specialist doctor (try looking up Dr Clamp in Nottingham), and see if she will speak with you to give some general advise. She gives Diver Medicals, and is a diver herself, as well as a GP.
Marianne Free Allitt
5 Sep 2012 10:41AM

thank you ! Sadly, the client concerned didn't like it when I said I wouldn't massage him until he'd had the all clear and haven't heard from him since May!! I'm glad I didn't massage him though - it would have worried me too much of the possible consequences. I always say listen to your gut instincts and it appears, I was right on this one too xx
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