Respiratory System

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Although there is not as strong of a connection between massage and the respiratory system (as is with the musculoskeletal and nervous system), there are still important facets of this system that therapists need to be aware of, especially in terms of respiratory pathologies. Of course the obvious reason is that of contagious respiratory infections or pathologies. However, other conditions can impact the effectiveness or appropriateness of massage therapy treatment.

A good example of this is a client with sleep apnea. The cause of sleep apnea varies from person to person, and thus it is important to know the cause of the apnea before administering massage therapy. Some causes could include: obesity, large tonsils or adenoids, nasal blockage. A client could also have a physical abnormality such as a deviated septum, or the client’s muscles in his/her tongue and throat could relax more easily. Knowing the cause of the apnea is key to deciding appropriate massage techniques. Since the client will generally not be sleeping, and there are not any decisive physical signs to look for, this needs to be predetermined in the pre-massage intake assessment. Information from the client’s physician should also be obtained to determine the course of the treatment plan.

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