Pathology for Massage Therapists
Hair Loss (other than normal baldness)
Definition: loss of hair
including facial hair and body hair
Causes: hormonal changes,
high fever, stress, thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, toxicity
Indications: Massage to
increase circulation, eliminate toxins
to appropriate health care practitioner for nutritional support and lifestyle
Headache (see also Migraine)
or dull ache in the head; May be due to vascular change, muscle tension
or more severe underlying pathology such a tumors.
Causes: stress, neck
and shoulder tension, TMJ, food allergies (wheat, dairy, chocolate, vinegar,
bananas ), hormonal disturbances, trauma, nutritional deficiencies, exposure
to irritants or food additives such as MSG, anemia, bowel problems, hypoglycemia,
spinal misalignment, tooth grinding, withdrawal from drugs or caffeine,
sinus problems, eyestrain, fatigue, whiplash.
to head, neck and shoulders. Check occipital ridge, levator scapula,
jaw, temporal area and trapezius for triggerpoints. Teach diaphragmatic
breathing and work on diaphragm. Decompress cranial and facial structures.
Steam inhalation, heat to cervical area and chest to promote sinus drainage.
Migraines may sometimes be alleviated if caught at the right moment, but
you will never know when that may be. Massage if tolerated.
Refer to other health care provider if persistent, severe and reoccurring
headaches to rule out serious illness. Refer to Acupuncturist/Naturopath/Chiropractor
for other support.
to head resulting in a contusion, laceration or other injury
disorientation, nausea, disturbed vision, pain, black out, uneven pupil
referral of physician massage to reduce tension and pain
Refer to Physician for diagnostics.
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
when blood supply to heart is sharply cut off or reduced depriving it of
Causes: partial or
complete blockage of artery by blood clot or plaque, aneurysm (weak spot
in blood vessel) may rupture, arrhythmia
high blood pressure, chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea,
vomiting; pain in left arm , neck, jaw or area between shoulder blades
to Physician Immediately: Massage beneficial in recovery process
for stress reduction
Refer to Physician: Recovery may be assisted by Naturopath or Acupuncturist.
growth consisting of bone (calcium deposits) on the heel of foot
neuritis, alkalosis, tendinitis, improperly balance posture (weight on
heels), shortened achilles tendons, high heel or other improperly fitting
shoes, overweight, stress on heel area
in heel or fascia of foot
for calf, assess posture and treat accordingly, Ice, hot linseed oil packs
Definition: a tumor
or swelling filled with blood
feeling, sometimes surrounded by bruising
Refer to physician.
of the blood clotting mechanism, blood does not clot
deficiency of or defective blood proteins that are needed for repair
bleed somewhat longer than usual, may have complications due to internal
only light work under the supervision of a physician
Work only under supervision of physician
of the liver: Type A in usually in children transmitted by fecal
matter and food and usually does not cause lasting damage. Type B
through contact with infected blood and body fluids. Type B may last from
2-6 months and may lead to cirrhosis or other liver problems. Type C contracted
through the blood and transfusions may lead to chronic problems. Toxic
Hepatitis caused from exposure to toxic chemicals
Causes: viral infection,
tender and enlarged, unable to function normally, build up of toxins in
the body results: fever, weakness, vomiting, headache, muscle aches, flu
caution: Highly contagious; Get physicians approval.
Work with Physicians recommendations for hygiene and sanitation
Herpes simplex (Type I, ii)
fluid filled blisters; usually of the mouth or around eye or genital area
Causes: virus; weakened
immune system, stress
blisters that rupture and crust over; Highly contagious!
contact with affected area; Use strict sanitation practices. Massage to
Avoid contact with affected area. Refer to appropriate health care practitioner.
Nutritional supplements may be beneficial in reducing outbreaks.
Herpes zoster (Shingles)
viral infection of the nervous system; fluid filled blisters form on the
Causes: chicken pox
virus; may lie dormant and reactivate when the immune system is compromised
from stress, poor diet and lifestyle; environmental toxins
blisters; most often along intercostal nerves occasionally trigeminal nerve
or optic nerve which may be cause damage to the eye.
lesions; Most likely to painful to work on or client may be unable to lie
May be on steroids to reduce inflammation. Wait until lesions are healed.
of intervertebral discs usually in the low back but can be in the neck,
leading to protrusion of disc or rupture of disc
Causes: trauma, weakened
ligaments, improper posture, tight muscles, weak muscles, inactive muscles
pain, pain down leg, tingling in foot, calf or thigh, foot drop
rebalancing; release and balance psoas, adductors, realigning hips
Refer to Naturopath for Peat pack treatments, Chiropractic, Acupuncturist.
Surgery should be last resort.
Book Resource : Healing
Back Pain (link to Amazon.com) by John Sarnos
Hernia (inguinal, hiatial)
Hiatial- stomach pushes upward through an opening in the diaphragm into
Inguinal- protrusion of
the hernial sac containing the intestine into the inguinal opening
defect, gastroesophageal reflux, vertebral subluxation, stress, improper
diet, excess acidity
for stress reduction, postural alignment therapy; hydrotherapy- drink as
much water as possible upon awakening and jump up and down to pull stomach
Refer to physician for inguinal to eliminate the possibility of strangulation.
For Hiatal refer to appropriate health care practitioner for diet
modification and treatment.
HIV/AIDS (Human immunodeficiency virus/Acquired
Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
system disorder; body is unable to defend itself.
Causes: virus spread
by sexual or blood to blood contact
get flu like symptoms 2-4 weeks after exposure; diarrhea, fever, fatigue,
loss of appetite, night sweats, swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver and
spleen, cancers, Kaposi's sarcoma, herpes simplex
for stress reduction, pain reduction. Use universal precautions. (protective
barriers, disinfect with thorough washing, proper needle disposal, use
ventilation devices of mouth to mouth resuscitation, avoid contact if you
have openings in skin) Use 10% bleach solution; wash immediately with antiviral
to appropriate health care practitioner for treatment of immune system.
Use gloves if you have broken skin on the hands. If patients have breaks
in skin, lesions, rashes also use gloves.
High Blood Pressure - see hypertension
infectious disease that may start as an inflammatory disorder and progress
to a neoplastic disorder; cancerous growth of cells in lymph system
immune disorder, infection, Epstein-Barr virus
lymph glands and nodes (usually in axilla, neck, or inguinal area), spleen,
liver and sometimes kidneys, weakness, fever, night sweats, weight loss,
fatigue, itching, loss of appetite; diagnosed only by biopsy
for stress reduction. There is much controversy over massage in cancer
patients. I believe it can only be helpful to awaken the person to
the needs of their body and assist in deeper healing. Proceed
Work under physician referral. Treatment may include radiation/chemotherapy.
Book resource- Medicine
Hands: (link takes you to Amazon.com) Massage Therapy for people with
Cancer - by Gayle MacDonald
disease of the nervous system
muscular twitching, cerebral cortex affected
for stress reduction
under supervision of physician.
sensitivity to sensory stimuli such as pain or touch
Causes: may be a
side effect of drug, fibromyalgia, herpes, carpal tunnel, neuritis; stress
- emotional or physical.
with slightest touch
lightly; May help desensitize, Be aware of client at all times; Ask for
Refer to physician to determine cause and proceed accordingly.
Causes: stress, improper
diet, lack of exercise, caffeine use, high sodium intake, water retention,
hereditary, arteriosclerosis, athlersclerosis
sweating, rapid pulse, flushed skin, dizziness, shortness of breath, visual
for stress reduction, relieve tightness that may be adding to restricted
flow of blood especially forearm tightness. Massage may momentarily increase
Refer to appropriate health care practitioner for lifestyle, diet and nutritional
treatments. Have physician monitor in extreme conditions
problem; parallel rays come to focus behind the retina
of eye, eyestrain, disturbance in fluid systems of body
for stress reduction; eye exercises
Refer to Bates vision specialist
of thyroid hormone resulting in overactive metabolism. Most common form
of this disease is Graves' Disease.
or inflammation of thyroid gland, improper diet
weight loss, usually too hot, increased bowel movements, rapid heartbeat,
hand tremors, less frequent menstruation
for stress reduction, relaxation and detoxification.
Refer to appropriate health care practitioner
Link - Endocrine
muscle tone that if prolonged could lead to injury
stress, food allergies, over exertion, trauma
tightness, stiffness, reduced elasticity, extensibility and contractility,
ischemia, tissue colder than normal, numbness due to impingement
to lengthen muscles, increase circulation, restore elasticity and extensibility
Refer to Physician if no known cause
Definition: low blood
Causes: over secretion
of insulin by pancreas, poor diet, excess sugar, carbohydrates, alcohol,
caffeine, soft drinks in diet, stress, adrenal insufficiency, thyroid disorders,
kidney disease, immune deficiency and candidia overgrowth
headache, irritability when hungry, anxiety, constant hunger, swollen feet,
insomnia, short temper
for stress reduction; Have snacks available if you know the person is highly
Refer to appropriate health care practitioner for treatment.
Links - Hypoglycemia
of thyroid hormone
disease (body becomes allergic to thyroid hormone), iodine absorption,
tumor, pituitary problems, lack of progesterone
cold, painful menstrual periods, muscle weakness, dry skin, yellow bumps
on eyelids, hair loss, anxiety, bulging eyes
for stress reduction
Refer to appropriate health care practitioner for treatment. Extreme
cases may need immediate attention of physician.
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