Skin assessment

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For massage therapists, the integumentary system is an extremely essential system to be studied and understood. Not only do many disorders display themselves on the skin, in terms of symptoms as well as the disease itself, but also because it is the first body structure contacted directly during the massage. It is imperative that during the premassage interview that the therapist conducts a general survey of the exposed skin. It should be checked for color, condition, and temperature. In terms of color, the therapist should ask his or herself if the color is normal for the client’s race, is it ischemic, cyanotic, jaundiced or inflamed? The questions pertaining to condition are moistness or dryness, stretching, shine, or swollen? And finally, is the skin temperature consistent throughout the client’s body and is it warm or hot (inflammation), or cool (ischemic)? If any of these questions are answered abnormally, the client must contact their health care provider for diagnosis and treatment.

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