October 4, 2005

Rub or rob: These parlours make hay

By Pushpa Narayan/TNN

soft-tissue inflammation and other problems after massages.
   “The so-called herbal oil and pigeon blood treatments are popular. People believe they offer magical cure,” he rues.
   Dr Chandrasekar S, consultant with M S Ramaiah Memorial Hospital, says patients, particularly those with rheumatoid arthritis, go to quacks. “A patient Bangalore: A teenager was recently wheeled into a hospital with grievous injuries after an untrained masseur ‘cracked his neck’. Doctors say they saved his life, but he was paralysed for life.
   “Most of the massages are non-scientific and are offered by persons who aren’t trained in any form of medicine. They end up causing a lot of pain in those who don’t have problems or they aggravate pain in those with ailments like spondylitis,” says orthopaedic Dr T h o m a s C h a n dy, chairperson, Hosmat Hospital.
   There are no statistics available on these massage parlours, which are mushrooming in the city, nor has any evaluation been done. City doctors estimate that less than 50 per cent of these parlours have trained masseurs. They are not bound by registration. They charge anywhere between Rs 50 and Rs 15,000 per sitting.
   “One of my middle-aged patients said he went for lower back pain treatment to a masseur on Old Mysore Road. The masseur made him stand facing the wall, ran from the other end of the room and kicked his back. The patient collapsed and was brought to the hospital unconscious with a broken spine,” narrates Dr Sujay Rao, consultant neurologist, Manipal Hospital. He has seen patients with nerve twists, who could not tolerate pain till his next treatment, went to a masseur and was bedridden for six weeks with swo l l e n knees.”
   Mallappa S h a n k a r - alinge, a resident of Jayanagar, had to quit his highp ay i n g MNC job recently after he went through a m a s s a g e treatment to reduce pain in the lower back. “One of the parlours promised a cure. The masseur spread powder on my body and stood on my back. Initially I felt good, but he probably applied more pressure and broke my spine. Today, I can’t even move out of bed; I have developed bed sores,’’ says 30-year-old Mallappaa.
   To be fair, massaging is therapeutic method being practised since 300 BC. It is the treatment of superficial parts of the body by systematic rubbing, stroking, kneading or slapping, applied manually or with the help of electronic devices. “However, it requires the skilled hands of a physiotherapist or a qualified masseur,’’ say doctors.

•Choose a massage parlour with a certified trainer, who has a degree or diploma from reputed universities or has been certified by the government.

• Consult a doctor before you go in for any treatment.

• Don’t hesitate to ask administrators any queries, like the ingredients used or evidence of treatment methods. Remember, it is your body.


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