Massage and Medications—When is Therapy Dangerous?

$52.00 members / $87.00 nonmembers     3.5 CE credits

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Effects from many medications result from physiologic changes that require alteration of the massage session to prevent harm to clients. Learn guidelines on how to minimize the risk of massage aggravating the side effects from medications. Access information on medical side effects that can be mistaken for common ailments resulting in inappropriate treatment plans, as well as major drug side effects and groups of medications that require special attention.


Get an overview of the modifications required for massage sessions due to physiologic changes from medications taken by clients. When you finish this course you will be able to:

  • Appreciate the need to watch for the side effects of medications that require alterations in massage therapy sessions.
  • Define three ways to use client assessments and input to help modify sessions for side and adverse effects of medications.
  • Explain how to report serious adverse experiences to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Explain how optimum session scheduling is affected by five methods of administering drugs and onset of action, peak blood levels, duration of action and half-life.
  • Describe six ways palpating can detect side effects of drugs.
  • Discuss how the reason for taking a medication can guide session planning.
  • Give six ways drugs alter a client’s response to massage and the responsible way to adjust the therapy session to address those alterations.
  • List six special considerations required for diabetic clients.
  • Define seven classes of medications that warrant proceeding with caution for massage therapists.

About the author(s)

Jeannette Vaupel has maintained an active RN license in Illinois for 38 years. She practiced in a variety of mental health and acute care settings for16 years. She currently holds both nursing and massage licenses in Illinois and Arizona. Her massage therapy career began in 1986 and included owning and directing a private massage training school for nearly 14 years.

Course expiration

Please note that you must complete each AMTA online learning course and pass the exam one year from the date of purchase. If you do not complete the course and pass the exam within one year, you will be required to re-purchase the course.

Online courses expire one year from the date of purchase. When a course expires, you will no longer have access to the course materials and will be required to re-purchase the course.

Course approval codes

MSP #168; LCEU0002213


This course contains information that is proprietary. None of the material contained within this course may be used without the express written permission of AMTA unless otherwise indicated in the course. As a reminder, before practicing any new modalities or techniques, check with your state’s massage therapy regulatory authority to ensure they are within the state’s defined scope of practice for massage therapy.


Online courses are non-refundable. AMTA will not cover fees incurred from duplicate payments, insufficient funds, stopped payments or credit/debit cards over credit limits.

"AMTA is an awesome organization. I can’t imagine any massage therapist not joining."

Karen T., AMTA member since 2002