What is Pathology

Published on 12th June 2018


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.

What is a contra-indication? 

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.[1][2]Contraindication is the opposite of indication, which is a reason to use a certain treatment.

Here is a list of common contra-indications for massage. Many of which will apply to other therapies.

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. 

Complete contra-indication

Presence of temperature
Seriously ill with diabetes
Areas of pain
Full stomach


Heart conditions


Scar tissue - minor for 6 months or major for 2 years
Varicose veins    
Arthritis in inflammatory stage
Any inflammation e.g. swollen ankle, inflamed irritable bowel
Receiving treatment from another practitioner
Areas with no pain receptors

Golden Rule: “If in doubt – don’t”


View all messages

Anatomy and physiology online courses - Free e-book
Free e-book

10 Top Study Tips to Help You Pass Your Anatomy and Physiology Exam

Anatomy and physiology online courses - free trial
Free Trial

No Commitment.
No hidden fees.
No credit card required.

Start Today


"I am delighted to have passed and greatly appreciate the support and flexibility that you have given me during this extended process of study. Thanks also for the guidance and resources - it has been a really excellent and thorough learning experience and I will be giving you 5 stars on the evaluation "

- Karen McMinn -

Newsletter Signup

Anatomy & physiology courses online - refund policy


ITEC Level 3 certificate in Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology
British Register of Complementary Practitioners
Association Systematic Kinesiology
BowenTraining UK

Get in Touch

GM Tree Training Ltd
5 Clumber Drive
Somerset BA11 2LG
United Kingdom
T: +44 (0)7392 745790

Contact us

Secure transactions

Powered by WordPay

Mastercard Visa American Express Maestro JCB

This website uses cookies in order to help provide the best experience for our users. Find out more.

OK, I'm good with that