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Transdermal Medications...

Posted on August 23, 2017 at 8:30 AM

Welcome back Energetic Adventurers......


It is interesting that when I started this blog, I never thought I would be writing not one but two entries on scientific material or even pharmacology, but this topic has blossomed into a many petaled flower that seriously has drawn my attention to itself.


Back when myself and many other therapists were in school almost 20 years ago, there were really only two types of medications that we had to know about and were barely even tested on. Those were blood thinners and muscle relaxers, with an honorable mention of pain relievers. We were instructed, " Hey be careful if you client is on blood thinners because they can be more easily bruised." and of course, " If a client is taking muscle relaxers or pain relievers they may not be able to tell how deep is the pressure."


Then so many of us were sent out into the world of massage and clients who have issues with their tissues...


Over the years I realized that often what I am using on my client will also have an influence on me. The first time was while giving a close friend a massage and I was using Chinese Woodlock oil, which is more of a serum than oil. I was told it is the Chinese version of icy hot, tiger balm or biofreeze. What I was not told was after 5 to 7 minutes of using this serum bare handed on my client that I would lose all feeling and motor control of my hands.....Needless to say I couldn't quite finish the massage.


Most therapists understand the world of aromatherapy and that what scents or oil we use on our clients also effect us. This is also the case with body treatments. When I was working at the four-star hotel and spa, it was almost a daily occurence that a client would request a detox body treatment or massage and within twenty or thirty minutes of the service I would be running to the toilet because my body was also detoxing.


Now we should be aware and potentially concerned with the world of transdermal medications,. These are lotions and patches that release medications over time through the layers of the skin directly into the body's blood stream. This method of delivery is used because the medication can enter the circulatory system directly bypassing the livers metabolic activity, the digestive tracts acidic environment, and is painless.


So what's the big deal..... Why do we need to be aware or even more so concerned with topical medications.. Well going back to what I earlier stated.....What we do to our clients, we can also do to ourselves...or in this case what our clients do to themselves can also be done to us....


The other issue is that our clients may not even think of these topical treatments as actual medications, and may not disclose them to us during their medical history and intake.  What harm could it do to a therapist if their client just took off their nicotine patch on their shoulder prior to laying on the table and receiving a massage. Then later, you as the therapist feel overly jittery...You chalk it up to maybe too much caffeine, or a clients energy, not thinking that you were just dosed by your last client.


Here are some of the medications and supplements that are becoming more and more widely used that we want to be aware of as therapists:

1. The highest selling transdermal patch is the Nicotine Patch

2. Opioid patches for pain relief, potentially dangerous for therapist especially if allergic.

3. Hormone patches/ creams - Estrogen patches are often prescribed for women going through menopause. Men should be very careful not to be exposed to estrogen it can cause a disruption in their own hormones.  Testosterone is also prescribed in a cream and patch form, Female therapists need to be aware if their male clients are on testosterone treatments and need to avoid any area where a patch or cream has been applied.

4. Nitroglycerin patches used for angina, again all therapists need to avoid the area of application.

5. We are also starting to see antidepressants, and ADHD med's become available in pat ch form.

6. CBD's (canniboids) - as I stated in my previous blog can contain up to 25% THC and can come in a medicated cream.


Especially as the baby boomers are becoming part of our aging and elderly clientele, we will be seeing more and more people taking medications transdermally. We need to make sure we are adding these types of pharmaceuticals to both our oral and written intakes and medical histories.


Until next time.....


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3 Comments

Reply Xander
5:38 PM on August 23, 2017 
Very timely article, great read.
Reply Magshold
5:28 PM on August 12, 2018 
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