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Massage Today
September, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 09

Detoxifying the Massage Room

By Lynne Johnston, RMT

Two years ago, I joined the ranks of the disabled. An anaphylactic reaction to a chemical exposure crashed my immune system and progressed to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Now I react to all unnatural (petrochemical) scents.

I've learned so much I wish to share about how people can reverse the pollution in their environment.

The avoidance protocol for MCS is common with other health conditions, including allergies; asthma and other breathing disorders; pregnancy; cancer; and other instances of immunological suppression.

We are exposed to many chemicals every day - some pleasant, some harsh, and some dangerous. Fragrances cause problems in 15-30 percent of the population, and they're getting stronger.

Most fragrances are petrochemical-based. Although an item may be labeled "unscented," it actually has masking scents, and the dangerous chemicals are still present.

When scheduling massage appointments, some clients mention they are sensitive to odors or chemicals. What does that mean? Perhaps they have allergies, which can be improved with medications; if they suffer from chemical sensitivities, medications won't do any good.

The following is a table to help you "detox" your professional space:

Table showing non-toxic items available for massage therapists. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

Table showing non-toxic items available for massage therapists. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

It has been theorized that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is caused by infant exposure to chemicals that cannot be detoxed. When you consider that an infant's lungs are the last major organs to develop, then add up how many chemical-based products may be surrounding the baby, it starts to make sense.

A high percentage of massage therapists are more environmentally conscious than the average population. We hang out at health food stores, attend lectures on natural healing, and tend to be activists for the environment.

Let's learn how we can create a safer environment for ourselves and our clients.

Lynne Johnston has practiced therapeutic massage in Richardson, Texas since 1991. Her private practice and research efforts have focused on chronic pain and the elderly. Lynne has worked with the eldercare and hospice programs of the Visiting Nurses Association, and established its massage therapy program. Following a chemical exposure in May 2000, Lynne developed Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), mandating that she live and work in a fragrance-free environment. She currently teaches several Texas Dept. of Health food safety certification courses at Collin County Community College in Plano, Texas.


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