Monday, June 18, 2018

Summer time, sunshine and ..... the dreaded "Sunburn"

-Hello Everyone,

My first massage of the morning....gave me a great idea for today's blog. Sunburns. This last weekends weather in Bremerton WA, was the first of many warm sunny days. As my female client walks in to the office,  instantly I could tell that she had spent plenty of time in the sun. I asked her how her skin felt, her response (as she was slapping herself on the shoulders) "I'm good, not sore at all". 

So, I looked up Sunburns in my Pathology book. Not only where sunburns discussed, but there are many forms of burns. From heat, to chemical, to water/vapor to electrical or radiation. 

What follows, is what the book said how to handle burns and massage therapy. 

Burns are graded in three levels of depth:

First Degree:  is some times quite painful but relatively mild irritation of the superficial epidermis characterized by redness but no blistering.  Mild sunburn is perhaps the most common example of a first-degree burn. 

Second-degree: is damage that involves all layers of the epidermis and possible some of the dermis too. Symptoms include redness, blisters that appear instantly, edema and pain. 

Third-degree: goes through the dermis or beyond, destroying hair shafts, sebaceous glans, erector pilae muscles, sweat glands and even nerve endings, which paradoxically make third-degree burns less painful than second-degree burns. 

So, can you get a massage? Sure, however the only kind of burn that is appropriate for hands-on massage in the acute stage is a very mild sunburn, and of course even then one must work within pain tolerance of the client. 

The next question is, how do you prevent a sunburn? Limit your time/exposure to the sun. Where a high SPF and apply to the skin approx 30 minutes. Be careful too, if you are on medication, check the label. It might put you at a higher risk of skin damage. 

If you do find yourself with a sunburn and either have a massage scheduled or need to schedule one, please call and ask. I would rather be safe than sorry. 

Thank you for reading, and have a blessed day. 

Rebecca Shirley, LMT


References from: A Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology, fourth edition. pgs 74-76

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