Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Skin assessment

One aspect of massage therapy I don't believe I've touched on (hah! Pun unintended.) is skin assessment. It's the job of the therapist to assess the skin of our clients, and notify them of anything suspicious. Also, it protects US, since we have the right to say, sorry, this rash looks suspicious, I'm going to have to break the massage off (or get gloves, whichever seems best in the situation).
I had a client for a sports massage a few days ago who had a fairly large lesion on his back that he wasn't even aware of. It had an irregular border and sort of a crusty scab-like thing on top. It didn't cause him pain when I touched it, probably the reason he was unaware of it. What made me wonder is that he mentioned he was in Vegas with his wife. Why the heck hadn't she said something to him about it? Anyway, I recommended he see a doctor about it, and reminded him again at the end of the session. Pretty much all I can do.

This actually happens pretty regularly. A lot of my clients are older, and most have some kind of sun damage to their skin. Thankfully awareness is high. Almost every time I point out a suspicious mole, the client is already aware of it, or say they've had it checked out. In one case recently, the client already had a date for removal scheduled. Whew, that's really a relief to me!

If I had a private practice, it would be a little different. I'd keep charts/files on all my clients, and document, document, document (a.k.a. CYA). It would also be a lot easier to keep track of things like changes in moles, etc. if I had regular clients. With the client's permission, I could periodically take photos with a ruler or other measure, then I'd have something to pass on to the client's physician, if necessary.

All part of the job.

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