Tricia Lovegrove, RMT, has been practicing Massage Therapy since 1998.  She has treated over 5000 patients and a wide variety of conditions.  She works at Empower Health Clinic, on Commercial Drive, East Vancouver, BC.  Below is the second part of a two part blog series that answers some of the most common questions about massage therapy.  See Part 1 of this series here!

What Specific Conditions should NOT be treated by Massage?

There are no restrictions with regards to age, race or sex. There are, however, some conditions, called contraindications, where Massage Therapy may be harmful. These can be broken into three main categories: general, (where Massage Therapy should be avoided); local; and abdominal.


  • Highly malignant cancers,
  • Hypertension if unstabilized,
  • Advanced arteriosclerosis or heart disease,
  • Any acute skin condition,
  • Infectious or contagious disease,
  • Use of drugs that may alter sensations,
  • Advanced inflammatory conditions, (rheumatoid arthritis),
  • Hypersensitivity to pain.


  • Undiagnosed swelling or lumps, (not including pimples),
  • Burns and open wounds,
  • Scars less than two weeks old or that are very tender,
  • Marked pitting edema,
  • Neuritis.


  • Pregnancy in the first trimester (first three months),
  • Nausea/vomiting,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Boardlike stomach,
  • High blood pressure,
  • Areas of sepsis.

What Can Massage Therapy NOT do for me?

  • Strengthen weak or atrophied muscles,
  • Substitute for warm-up or cool-down exercises in sports,
  • Melt away excess body fat.

Are there things that a Massage Therapist is forbidden to do?

This question refers to the scope of practice and is rather complicated. Some things Massage Therapists are definitely not allowed to do include:

  • Set broken bones,
  • Provide sexual stimulation of any kind, (known as Sex Favours),
  • Prescribe drugs/medications.

Note: some therapists recommend supplements or natural alternative, but I personally recommend that patients seek such information from a naturopath or homeopathic practitioner. One thing I do recommend fairly frequently, especially in cases of extensive muscle tension, is an Epsom salts bath about once a week or as needed.

Is Massage Therapy Painful? 

Some therapeutic techniques, such as those used in deep-tissue therapy, can be painful, and the cramping and pain may persist for a few hours after treatment. Once it wears off, however, one begins to notice the benefits of treatment. One way to lessen the pain during treatment is to avoid holding your breath, as this increases tension throughout the body, which in turn increases the pain.