At the college that I attended it was impressed upon us not to be afraid to refer a client to a doctor.
Years ago I had a co-worker who told me she would never refer or suggest that someone should see a doctor
She did not believe that referring clients to a doctor is our responsibility as Massage Therapists, I said to her “but we are in a unique position to see areas of their body that they cannot see and conditions they may not be aware they have.” We have a responsibility to our clients to make them aware when something needs to be addressed by a doctor.
Depending on the situation or condition I might say something to the effect of “you should have a dermatologist check this out” or “it might not be a bad idea to have a doctor take a look at that.” They may ask you what you suspect or why you have made that suggestion, be careful not to cross the line into diagnosis, try not to sound alarming while at the same time let them know that it is a good idea to have it looked at to rule out any issues.
What if it ends up being nothing serious?
Well great! Both you and your client will feel better knowing that it was nothing serious, but what if you said nothing and it was?
“I wanted to thank you, you saved me!” he said “You suggested I should see a dermatologist, and you saved me, it was stage one aggressive malignant melanoma”
They were able to diagnose and remove the cancer before it had a chance to spread and he is now being monitored regularly to make sure that it does not return.
We are in a unique position to help others
That is what we do, it is who we are! Don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel that your client should see a doctor, if you are wrong then you both gain peace of mind, and if you are correct you might just save a life!