Massage therapists understand the importance of hand-washing between clients, in terms of basic hygiene. New research shows that clean hands go a long way toward preventing serious health problems.

The staph bacteria MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is suspected in a sharp rise in skin infections. MRSA can be easily spread through contact with unwashed hands that have become contaminated with the bacteria, or from contact with unclean surfaces.

Clostridium difficile is another bacteria that can spread through improper hygiene.

New research shows regular handwashing by hospital staff and visitors did more to prevent the spread of MRSA than isolating infected patients.

MRSA are Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that are resistant to the meticillin class of antibiotics. Many people carry these bacteria and it is generally not harmful if they are healthy.

MRSA can cause serious illness in patients with weak or damaged immune systems and the elderly, and is widespread in hospitals.