Close contact between a massage therapist and client is inevitable and puts you at risk of man communicable diseases. Having knowledge of AIDS, HIV and various strains of hepatitis is essential in your education as a therapist and can help protect you.

By learning the signs, symptoms and effects of communicable diseases in the privacy of your home or office through home study courses, massage therapists can easily implement these tools into practice and increase safety and effectiveness for their clients. These home study courses outline 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.

A search on the Internet revealed 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 provide therapists critical guidelines to follow that teach proper sanitation and prevention techniques that help stop the spread of the disease.

As for hepatitis, the 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. The courses also discuss the confidentiality of test results and treatment of clients.

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