If this is your first massage session with any licensed therapist, then you should be filling out a medical intake form.If not, you may want to reevaluate where you are.
Basic medical information, recent and not so recent, is actually really important to a massage. Most people think of massage as relaxation or pampering, but there is a medical effect to it all.
Some things seem reasonable in that light, like high/low blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Then some that you can’t grasp like why on earth anyone would need to know about like your squash game, your occupation, or the car accident that happened 10 years ago. This is because massage is more than just a feel good activity.
Please, PLEASE fill out these forms to the best of your ability. I can’t tell you how much some of this matters. Some of it is that you’re not going to get the most out of your massage, but most of it is for safety and health reasons. Several times I’ve arrived at a new client’s place and set up, only to immediately pack up once they fill out the form. Which is totally fine with me. Why? Because for some medical conditions, getting a massage is DANGEROUS and although I have red stripey hair, I’m not here to hurt anyone.
Massage to most people is just something relaxing and wonderful (yeah it is!) but the reason it feels so good is because it’s having a positive, physical impact on your body. Most of that positive, physical impact is via the circulatory system. Swedish massage not only breaks up adhesions in the muscle tissue, but also aids in the removal of lymphatic fluid and the improvement of circulation. In other words, massage pushes blood (and other fluids) towards the heart. So imagine if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, history of clots, or have had a stroke. You can see how that might be something I need to know about. Also, diabetes affects the circulation in the lower extremities and diabetics are at increased risk of forming clots. People with varicose veins, women in their third trimester, and several other situations all arise just from the circulation issue. Some of these conditions I can’t work on at all, and others we have to work carefully and with different techniques. There’s more though.
Osteoporosis weakens the density of the bone, and rheumatoid arthritis inflames the joint, so no passive stretches should be done with either of those conditions. If there’s been recent surgery, I need to know what stage of recovery it’s in in order to gauge pressure, range of motion, and basically if you are going to scream if I touch your foot (I’m not one for surprises). There’s a host of other reasons and conditions, but most of them involve me not hurting you or you not hurting me (that cut on your finger is dangerous to both of us.) There is also that you’re not getting everything you can out of your therapy if you leave stuff out.
Say I don’t know that you sprained your right ankle 5 years ago and we’ve been working on your right hip which for SOME STRANGE REASON keeps bothering you. It’s totally fine, it’s just that I hate for people to be in pain longer than they need and with that information, we could’ve been closer to a solution much earlier. I try not to be annoying about it, but when I’m trying to solve an issue, I ask a lot of questions. I’m fine if you want a relaxing massage, just tell me and I’ll hush. But if you want me to fix that shoulder, too? I’m sorry, I have to talk at least a little bit. I have to find out what position you sleep in, what your habits are, and most importantly, what things were left off the intake.
People forget stuff. It’s fine. Just as a massage practitioner, I ride a fine line between medicine and relaxation. Please know that everything is confidential and you’re safe. Feel free to check those form boxes!!
Your friendly neighborhood RMP,
Hands On Call Massage