Why Do Massage Therapists Need to Understand Autoimmune Diseases?

Two reasons:

  1. Better understand your clients that are suffering from chronic pain.
  2. Grow your referral network, and your massage business.

“Autoimmune Disorders” is a very large and varied topic. There are many different disorders/diseases that fall under this umbrella (over 80), which makes it hard to simplify into one general picture. The treatment is often aimed at decreasing the symptoms of the disorder and down-regulating the immune system to control the autoimmune process.

In your massage practice, you’ll often be relied on to make informed decisions regarding safety and benefits of specific massage techniques for your clients that enhance immune system function, relieve pain, and provide physiological as well as psychological benefits. Your knowledge and understanding of massage techniques can very well enhance the quality of life for your clients diagnosed with psoriasis, lupus, lymphedema, diabetes, or irritable bowel syndrome, and other autoimmune disorders or conditions.


Massage Therapy can have significant benefits for someone with an autoimmune disorder or as a preventative measure against developing stress-related diseases.

Every client you see is unique, and a client with an autoimmune disease is no different.

With these clients, however, you need to make sure you discuss how their condition is affecting them so you can make the best decisions about treatment. Some of the most common symptoms can be helped with massage therapy including joint and muscle pain. Some light fascial techniques and compression can help soothe the connective tissue.  Ashiatsu can help with tissue inflammation to skin and joint problems.

There are many ways massage therapists can connect with other health care professionals, and in today’s climate, these opportunities are only going to increase. Referral by word of mouth is the best source of business there is. Remember developing relationships take time and it’s a two street. Thank providers for the referral and refer back when a client’s issues are outside of your scope.


If you want to learn more about autoimmune disease and how massage can help, Barefoot Bodyworks offers two courses and two ebooks to help you, help your clients.