Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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Massage and Vaso-Vagal

From: Wagner LMT


I am a licensed massage therapist. I recently did a chair massage on a young and self-proclaimed healthy client. After about 10 minutes she sat up and asked if it was normal to be feeling nauseated. We stopped for her to breath, as I tried to explain how it can be normalfor a client to feel sick with the release of toxins during massage. While I was explaining this, her eyes glazed over and she fell off the chair.

She was out for about 20 seconds. Her boss called "a friend" who said it was a VV response - he said I probably hit a nerve in her shoulder causing her to pass out. Needless to say, the situation was a little frightening.

I don't have much info on this topic, but would greatly appreciate any advice possible. The research I have come up with thus far leads me to believe that VV responses are a blood pressure issue. Am I correct? Is it possible to cause the response by palpation of a nerve in the shoulder? The VV nerve runs directly from the brain to the heart without running thru the spinal cord, right? It seems unlikely I wuld have been able to reach it.

The reason I am asking these questions, I would like to be as educated as possible in this area, as well as how to handle it, in the instance it occurs again with another client.

Any information anyone could offer would be wonderful; thank you all so much in advance!

Blessings, T. Wagner LMT

This web site is not a substitute for a thorough medical evaluation and diagnosis of your vaso-vagal type symptoms.  Medical treatment and diagnosis is the only acceptable initial response to these serious symptoms since they might present from any number of life threatening and treatable illnesses. It is for you and your physician to rule out more serious illnesses; Please don't use this online forum as an alternative to getting responsible medical attention and being under the care of a physician for the duration of any unknown, suspected or dangerous vaso-vagal syndrome symptoms.
Last changed: June 22, 2007