Sports massage-Jordan Hoggarth

Red & yellow flags;

A contraindication is a situation when massage should not be performed. This is because it could inflict injury and enhance pain upon the client so the massage will not become beneficial at all. There are two different types of contraindications, ‘red flag and yellow flag’. They are split into these two groups regarding their severity and if massage will have a positive or negative affect on the client. ‘Yellow flag’ contraindications are classed as being local meaning massage can be done in areas other than the injured area. For example if the client had a blister on their foot, the clients leg could still be massaged, that certain area must just be avoided. ‘Red flag’ contraindications mean that no massage can be performed at all due to the negative effects it is likely to have on the client. For example a client with cancer should not receive any kind of massage as it may induce the cancer and cause cells to spread.


Cancer- Cancer can spread through the lymphatic system, and because massage increases lymphatic circulation, it may potentially spread the disease too. Simple, gentle touching is fine but massage strokes that stimulate circulation are not, so you must always check with a doctor first.

Pregnancy- Massage is contraindicated only in the first trimester of pregnancy as the baby is not stable yet and massage can have unexpected effects. Also when massaging an area such as the leg for example, blood flow will be enhanced in that area restricting the blood flow and therefore nutrients and oxygen to the baby.

Fractures- A light massage to the surrounding areas can improve circulation and be quite helpful. But massage of areas where fractures occurred should always be avoided and are described as a ‘red flag’ as they can cause further damage and increase recovery time.

Recent surgery- Anyone who has undergone recent surgery should never be massaged and particularly not the area which has been operated on. Massage can distract the healing process and break off blood clot which will increase recovery time and possibly inflict further injury.

Skin problems- You should avoid anything that looks like it shouldn't be there, such as rashes, wounds, bruises, burns, boils, and blisters, for example. Usually these problems are local, so you can still massage in other areas, but coming into contact with them can inflict further damage or enhance the problem. The problem could also be infectious which could then cause it to spread to the masseuse.

Open wounds- Any cuts, lacerations or grazes cannot be massaged. You should wait until the scar has properly formed. This is usually between one and two weeks. Massage can usually be performed in the areas around them as long as there is no soreness or pain. Massaging over an open wound could cause infections and pain so should always be avoided.