Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Massage Therapy: Shared Decisions

Many decisions regarding treatment are shared between the client and the therapist. Once the treatment plan is formulated in accordance with the client's therapeutic goals, the therapist discloses all benefits and potential risks. The client, as informed entity, may modify the plan.

It is important to note that a drug side effect does not automatically preclude use of specific massage techniques. Especially techniques that would best fulfill client goals.

For example, a client taking an anticoagulant may experience the common side effect of easy bruising. This same client may have a need for deep-pressure massage to address troublesome trigger points in the back, neck, and shoulders. If the client, who has been informed of the likelihood of bruising from deep-pressure massage, still wishes to proceed and the therapist is comfortable doing so, these techniques are appropriate. Reevaluate the client (and the decision) during subsequent sessions, and modify the treatment plan as needed.

Additionally, a physician may order a deep-pressure massage or myofascial release for a client who is taking anticoagulants. Given that bruising is not a life-threatening condition, the physician may decide that the massage benefits outweigh the risks. In these cases, the client would be best served with deep-pressure massage. However, if the therapist is unwilling to comply with the physician’s order under these circumstances, the therapist should refer the client to another therapist.

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