According to the Oxford dictionary it is “the science of the causes and effects of diseases, especially the branch of medicine that deals with the laboratory examination of samples of body tissue for diagnostic or forensic purposes”.
This website goes into a whole lot more detail.
Of course as complementary therapists we do not need to know the level of pathology that a doctor does. After all they study for a full 6 years and then go onto further studies to specialise in a particular field of medicine.
However people undertaking anatomy and physiology courses to go on to become therapists do need to study a level of pathology to be safe as many diseases and disorders are contra-indications to our therapy.
According to Wikipedia:
A contraindication is a condition or factor that serves as a reason to withhold a certain medical treatment due to the harm that it would cause the patient.Contraindication is the opposite of indication, which is a reason to use a certain treatment.
There are a number of diseases and disorders that are inadvisable to massage, that is, massage is contra-indicated. This is because the massage could exacerbate the condition (make it worse).
These can be divided into three categories: Complete contra-indication, local and cautionary. You will learn more about these pathologies on our anatomy and physiology course.
Presence of temperature
Seriously ill with diabetes
Areas of pain
Scar tissue - minor for 6 months or major for 2 years
Arthritis in inflammatory stage
Any inflammation e.g. swollen ankle, inflamed irritable bowel
Receiving treatment from another practitioner
Areas with no pain receptors
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