The dangers posed by communicable diseases, such as AIDS, HIV and various strains of hepatitis, are important lessons any practitioner in the massage field should know.

The close contact between massage therapists and clients during massage sessions makes the passing of these diseases easier without proper precautions. By learning the signs, symptoms and effects of communicable diseases through home study courses, massage therapists can easily implement this knowledge into practice and increase their safety and effectiveness for their clientele.

These courses outline and educate on the biology of the diseases, stages of development, symptoms, pathogens, modes of transmission and the history of HIV, AIDS and the five strains of hepatitis. The courses also provide therapists critical guidelines to follow that teach proper sanitation and prevention techniques that help stop the spread of the disease.

An Internet search resulted in numerous home study courses any massage therapist can take to fulfill his or her continuing education requirements.

For HIV and AIDS, some of the home study courses offered cover such topics as modes of transmission, diagnosis, infection control procedures, clinical management, prevention of the human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome, bodywork modification and emotional impact to the practitioner. The courses also discuss the confidentiality of test results and treatment of clients.

With hepatitis, courses discuss the history, etiology and pathophysiology of the disease, how to differentiate between several viral hepatitis types, the associated symptoms, modes of transmission, preventive measures, treatments, risks, universal precautions, equipment sanitization, misconceptions, alternative treatments and benefits of massage for clients suffering from hepatitis.

Make sure to check with your national and state licensing bodies to make sure the courses you select are acceptable for continuing education credits.

–Jeremy Maready