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From Hearts to Heart Attacks

For many years, Massage Therapists have seen the amazing results that a regular massage can produce. After several massages, clients generally begin to notice improvements in posture, decreased pain in joints and old injuries becoming a thing of the past. But what if massage therapists could offer relief to those suffering from coronary heart disease?

In 2002, a controlled trial was documented to suggest that a foot massage could effectively increase psychological wellbeing in patients following coronary artery bypass graft surgery, which is a type of surgery used to increase blood flow to the heart.

There has always been a widely presumed association between heart disease and psychological wellbeing. This study has found that there was an “increased calm among the massage group.”

As heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Australia, massage therapists can not only offer assistance in movement and mobility post-surgery, but also have an effect on the patient’s psychological wellbeing throughout the healing stage.

There is however, risks associated with treating patients after heart surgery or any surgery for that matter. Here are a few tips in case of an emergency.

  • If a client shows signs or symptoms of a heart attack i.e. pain or discomfort in the chest, arms or jaw, nausea, shortness of breath or they break out in a cold sweat, move them from your table to the floor. Heart attacks can lead to cardiac arrest where the client will lose consciousness. If the heart attack does lead to cardiac arrest, you can now perform CPR effectively on the floor. In the event of cardiac arrest, attempt to locate an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) as soon as possible. Record the time in which the client loses consciousness and don’t be afraid to call ‘000’ or ‘112’ even if the casualty has not lost consciousness. The sooner you call the better!
  • The signs and symptoms of a stroke can be hard to determine. If you remember that you have to act F.A.S.T in the event of a stroke, this acronym could assist in an emergency.

             F – Facial Weakness. Can the client smile?

             A – Arm Weakness. Can the client raise their arms laterally?

             S – Speech. Can the client speak clearly?

             T – Time. If the client has any of these symptoms it’s time to call ‘000’ or ‘112’ immediately.

Before beginning treatment on high risk clients we would highly recommend that you consult the client’s doctor first and complete a First Aid Certification.

If you would like to complete a First Aid Certification, please contact Uber Shape Learning (Burleigh Heads, QLD) via email ([email protected]) to book your course.


  1. Jennifer Hattan BSc RN
  2. Lindy King PhD BN RN
  3. Peter Griffiths BA PhD RGN

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