Healthy massages? Safety standards needed

Famous actor's blood poisoning & ICU hospital visit after foot massage sparks cleanliness standards & enforcement drive.

A masseuse presses a customer’s foot with a small wooden stick during a foot massage session at a recent health promotion fair in Bangkok. Health officials have been urged to monitor hygiene at massage services following an actor’s complaint that he fell ill after having a foot massage. (Photo: Patipatjanthong).

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Health

Actor's massage has unhappy ending

SPECIAL REPORT: Govt urged to regulate services after Sombat kin blame illness on airport rub-down
4 Apr 2013
Patsara Jikkham

The government is being urged to enforce stricter laws to ensure the safety of massage services after actor Sombat Methanee fell ill following a foot massage.

Masseur Serat Tangrongchitr, administrator of Wat Po's Thai Traditional Medical School, is calling for more safeguards after Sombat's illness sparked worries over whether massage services and spas meet hygiene standards.

Sombat was rushed to a hospital on March 26 after he developed chest pains and a high temperature. His foot was also swollen.

Doctors said the actor was suffering from a blood infection and was admitted to intensive care. He is now recovering.

The symptoms emerged soon after he received a foot massage at Udon Thani airport.

His family believes the massage might have been connected, though they are not sure how, and no solid evidence has emerged to back the claim.

Mr Serat said the government should take this opportunity to raise hygiene standards among massage operators.

"Laws must be enforced more strictly and wrongdoers must face harder punishments," he said

He cited his business as an example of a massage service that meets hygiene and safety requirements.

Masseurs are not allowed to wear jewellery to avoid the chance of injuring the customer's body, he said.

He said they are also required to ask whether customers have diabetes, known to be a factor in wounds that are hard to heal, and examine whether customers have wounds on their feet while cleaning them in water mixed with disinfectant.

Looking for wounds on the body is an important step to prevent blood infection because bacteria on human skin can enter the body through these wounds, Somchai Nitphanit, chief of the Department for Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine said.

A patient with a foot wound or who is wounded by some device while being massaged could be vulnerable, as the act of massaging will expand the blood vessels, allowing germs to easily enter the body, Dr Somchai said.

Masseurs need to be aware of the customers' state of health and avoid offering services to those who have even small wounds or who have heart and kidney conditions, he said.

Somkit Sithanu, a 50-year-old masseuse, also added diabetes as a risk. If diabetes patients want to use her service, she will not press their muscles hard but will give them only a soft massage.

At the MBK shopping mall where she offers massage services, she always asks her customers whether they have certain diseases or wounds and, before offering the massage, will double-check for any irregularities on their bodies again.

Mr Serat said all masseurs should adopt such precautions so they can decide whether to give the service or how to adapt their massage to suit customers' needs.

He said masseurs must be educated on how to avoid health risks to themselves and their customers.

Customers also need to be careful about whether massage services are certified and meet standards of hygiene, he said.

Wararat Boonkate, 24, goes for a massage once a week. She gauges the service by a store's cleanliness and the number of customers.

After the Sombat case, she said she will be more careful about choosing where to go and take stock of her health before having a massage.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Health, Actor's massage has unhappy end, SPECIAL REPORT: Govt urged to regulate services after Sombat kin blame illness on airport rub-down,  4 Apr 2013, Patsara Jikkham, link

 
Massage Safety Vocabulary

massage -  "the manipulation of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques, to enhance function, aid in the healing process, decrease muscle reflex activity, inhibit motor-neuron excitability, promote relaxation and well-being, and as a recreational activity" นวด (See Wikipedia)

masseuse - a person who gives people massages 

Thai massage - "a system of massage and assisted stretching developed in Thailand, and influenced by the traditional medicine systems of India, China, and Southeast Asia" นวดแผนโบราณ (See Wikipedia)

Thai traditional medicine - a system of methods and practices to treat medical problems including herbal medicine and massage, bodywork practices that developed in  Thailand (See Wikipedia)
Thai Traditional Medical School

foot massage - foot reflexology, applying pressure to the feet with the fingers or a stick according to "a system of zones and reflex areas that ...reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands, with the premise that such work effects a physical change to the body" (See Wikipedia)

hygiene - keeping your body and surroundings clean so that you are not infected with a disease สุขลักษณะ
standards - an acceptable level of quality or achievement มาตรฐาน
hygiene standards

infection -  "the invasion of the body by disease-causing organisms, their multiplication, and the reaction of the body to these organisms and the toxins they produce. Infections are caused by microorganisms such as viruses, prions, bacteria, and viroids, and larger organisms like macroparasites and fungi. The body can fight infections using its immune system. Human bodies react to infections with an innate response, often involving inflammation, followed by an adaptive response. Pharmaceuticals can also help fight infections" การติดเชื้อ (See Wikipedia)

blood infection - bacteria in the blood with or without infection, also known as sepsis, septiceamia or bacteremia: "bacteremia is the presence of viable bacteria in the blood stream. Bacteremia is different from sepsis (so-called blood poisoning or toxemia), which is a condition where bacteremia is associated with an inflammatory response from the body (causing systemic inflammatory response syndrome [SIRS], characterised by rapid breathing, low blood pressure, fever, etc.). Common oral hygiene, such as brushing teeth or flossing, can cause transient but harmless bacteremia. Some patients with prosthetic heart valves however need antibiotic prophylaxis for dental surgery because bacteremia might lead to endocarditis (infection causing inflammation of the interior lining of the heart). Septicemia is an ill-defined non-scientific term introducing more confusion between sepsis and bacteremia: it misleadingly suggests there is something in the bloodstream causing sepsis" (See Wikipedia)

suffering - physical or mental pain or problems ความทุกข์ทรมาน
suffering from a blood infection

press - to push something กด
press foot
press with wooden stick

masseuse presses a customer’s foot with a small wooden stick

session - the period of time during which you do some activity; period of time, session ระยะเวลา, ช่วงเวลา
a foot massage session

health promotion - activities to make people think about their health and take action to become healthier
a health promotion fair in Bangkok

A masseuse presses a customer’s foot with a small wooden stick during a foot massage session at a recent health promotion fair in Bangkok.

monitor - to regularly check something or watch someone in order to find out what is happening ตรวจสอบ ตรวจตรา
Health urged to monitor hygiene at massage services

complaint - when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory การร้องเรียน
an actor’s complaint that he fell ill after having a foot massage

urged - told strongly to do something; advised strongly to do something

Health officials have been urged to monitor hygiene at massage services following an actor’s complaint that he fell ill after having a foot massage.

regulate
- to control an activity officially by using rules ควบคุม
services - บริการต่างๆ
regulate services

kin -
other people in your family, relatives, family members เครือญาติ, ญาติ 
Sombat kin

rub -
to press and move your hands over a person's body or some object นวด
rub-down -
to rub a person's body (usually with a towel to make it dry)
airport rub-down


blame -
say that some person is the person that caused the problem
blame problem X on person Y
blame illness on airport rub-down

Sombat kin blame illness on airport rub-down

urged - advised someone very strongly about what action should be taken วิงวอน

Govt urged to regulate services after Sombat kin blame illness on airport rub-down

enforce - to make sure laws are obeyed
enforce stricter laws

ensure - to make certain that something happens or is done รับรอง ให้ความมั่นใจ ให้การยืนยัน
ensure the safety of massage services
enforce stricter laws to ensure the safety of massage services

The government is being urged to enforce stricter laws to ensure the safety of massage services after actor Sombat Methanee fell ill following a foot massage.

calling for - asking for something to happen
safeguards -
protections, actions taken to prevent bad thing from happening
calling for more safeguards

spark - cause something to happen
sparked worries - cause people to worry

spas - a resort or beauty salon for relaxing personal care treatments
spas meet hygiene standards

the illness sparked worries over whether massage services and spas meet hygiene standards.

Masseur Serat Tangrongchitr, administrator of Wat Po's Thai Traditional Medical School, is calling for more safeguards after Sombat's illness sparked worries over whether massage services and spas meet hygiene standards.

rushed - taken somewhere very quickly ด้วยความเร่งรีบ
he was rushed to a hospital

chest - the upper front part of the body of humans and some animals, between the stomach and the neck, containing the heart and lungs หน้าอก
he developed chest pains

swollen - enlarged, puffed up บวม, ขยายใหญ่,
his foot was swollen

Sombat was rushed to a hospital on March 26 after he developed chest pains and a high temperature. His foot was also swollen.

intensive - involving a lot of effort, energy, or attention
intensive care Unit (ICU) - the part of the hospital where people with serious life-threatening mecical problems are give special treatment with special equipment หน่วยรักษาพยาบาลผู้ป่วยขั้นวิกฤต, หน่วยรักษาพยาบาลผู้ป่วยอาการหนัก (See Wikipedia)
admitted to intensive care

recovering - getting better after being sick
He is now recovering

Doctors said the actor was suffering from a blood infection and was admitted to intensive care. He is now recovering.

symptoms - things that show that a person has a disease, technically only something felt or noticed by the patient: "a departure from normal function or feeling which is noticed by a patient, indicating the presence of disease or abnormality. A symptom is subjective, observed by the patient, and cannot be measured directly"  (See Wikipedia)

emerged - appeared ปรากฏออกมา
symptoms emerged

The symptoms emerged soon after he received a foot massage at Udon Thani airport.

evidence - information that shows and proves something to be true หลักฐาน หลักฐานประกอบการไต่สวนคดี หรือพิจารณาคดี
solid evidence
no solid evidence has emerged

claim - saying something is true without proving it yet
evidence to back the claim - things that show the claim is true

no solid evidence has emerged to back the claim

His family believes the massage might have been connected, though they are not sure how, and no solid evidence has emerged to back the claim.

opportunity - a situation when it is possible to do something that you want to do (See glossary)
take this opportunity to

operators - businesses doing some kind of business
massage operators

Mr Serat said the government should take this opportunity to raise hygiene standards among massage operators.

enforce
enforce laws

strictly - completely, exactly or correctly อย่างเข้มงวด
strictly enforce laws
enforce laws more strictly

punishments
face harder punishments

Laws must be enforced more strictly and wrongdoers must face harder punishments

cited - mentioned (to support a point you are making or arguing) กล่าวถึง
cited  as an example of

He cited his business as an example of a massage service that meets hygiene and safety requirements.

chance - the possibility of some event happening

Masseurs are not allowed to wear jewellery to avoid the chance of injuring the customer's body, he said.

diabetes - a serious medical condition in which your body does not produce enough insulin to reduce the amount of sugar in the blood โรคเบาหวาน (See Wikipedia)

factor - a fact or situation which influences the result of something ปัจจัย
diabetes is known to be a factor in wounds that are hard to heal

wound (noun) - an injury in which your skin or flesh is damaged, usually seriously บาดแผล บาดเจ็บ
a foot wound

wounds on the feet
examine if customers have wounds on their feet


disinfectant - a chemical substance that kills bacteria and is used for making things very clean สารที่ใช้ฆ่าเชื้อโรค (See Wikipedia)
cleaning the feet in water mixed with disinfectant

He said they are also required to ask whether customers have diabetes, known to be a factor in wounds that are hard to heal, and examine whether customers have wounds on their feet while cleaning them in water mixed with disinfectant.

bacteria - a very small single celled living thing, some causing some of the worst human diseases such as tuberculosis  แบ็กทีเรีย, เชื้อแบกทีเรีย, เชื้อโรค,
(See Wikipedia)
bacteria on human skin can enter the body through wounds

Looking for wounds on the body is an important step to prevent blood infection because bacteria on human skin can enter the body through these wounds, Somchai Nitphanit, chief of the Department for Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine said.

patient - someone who is receiving medical treatment คนป่วย, คนไข้

wound (noun) - an injury in which your skin or flesh is damaged, usually seriously บาดแผล บาดเจ็บ
a foot wound
patient with a foot wound

wound (verb) - when something like a knife creates a wound
device - a machine or piece of equipment that does a particular thing เครื่องจักร อุปกรณ์ เครื่องมือ
a patient wounded by some device

vulnerable - easily affected or damaged ที่เปราะบาง ที่ล่อแหลมต่อการเกิดภัยภิบัติ  ซึ่งถูกทำลายได้ง่าย
a vulnerable patient

expand - to become larger ขายตัวออกไป
the act of massaging will expand the blood vessels

germs - small living things that cause disease such as bacteria and viruses   เชื้อโรค,  เชื้อจุลินทรีย์
the act of massaging will expand the blood vessels, allowing germs to easily enter the body

a patient wounded by some device while being massaged could be vulnerable, as the act of massaging will expand the blood vessels, allowing germs to easily enter the body, Dr Somchai said.

A patient with a foot wound or who is wounded by some device while being massaged could be vulnerable, as the act of massaging will expand the blood vessels, allowing germs to easily enter the body...

state - condition สภาพ
state of health
a customers' state of health

aware - knowing that something exists, or having knowledge or experience of a particular thing ทราบ
aware of customers' state of health

kidney - one of the two organs in your body that clean your blood and remove waste ไต
heart and kidney conditions
people who have heart and kidney conditions

Masseurs need to be aware of a customers' state of health and avoid offering services to those who have even small wounds or who have heart and kidney conditions, he said.

risk - danger, the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen ความเสี่ยง
diabetes is a risk

soft - weak อ่อน
soft massage

press muscles
press muscles hard
press muscles softly

she will not
press their muscles hard

Somkit Sithanu, a 50-year-old masseuse, also added diabetes as a risk. If diabetes patients want to use her service, she will not press their muscles hard but will give them only a soft massage

double - to become twice as big, twice as much or twice as many เพิ่มเป็นสองเท่า
double-check - look or check for a problem two times (to make sure)

irregularities - things that are not normal (and therefore may indicate a problem) ความไม่สงบ
double-check for any irregularities

At the MBK shopping mall where she offers massage services, she always asks her customers whether they have certain diseases or wounds and, before offering the massage, will double-check for any irregularities on their bodies again.

precautions - things done to protect people or things against possible harm or trouble การป้องกันไว้ก่อน

adopt - to accept or to start using something new นำมาใช้
adopt such precautions

suit - agree with, be appropriate with  เหมาะสมกัน, เหมาะกับ
suit customers' needs

adapt - to change something to suit different conditions or uses ทำให้เหมาะ, ทำให้เข้ากับ, ปรับ
adapt their massage to suit customers' needs

Mr Serat said all masseurs should adopt such precautions so they can decide whether to give the service or how to adapt their massage to suit customers' needs.

He said masseurs must be educated on how to avoid health risks to themselves and their customers.

certified - inspected officially and verified that the company follows the rules ผ่านการรับรองคุณภาพ
certified massage services

standards of hygiene
meet standards of hygiene

massage services that are certified and meet standards of hygiene

Customers also need to be careful about whether massage services are certified and meet standards of hygiene...

gauge - measure 
gauge the quality of service

Wararat Boonkate, 24, goes for a massage once a week. She gauges the service by a store's cleanliness and the number of customers.

take stock of - assess, evaluate and judge; look at closely and make a decision about (what health problems exist, if any)
take stock of her health

After the Sombat case, she said she will be more careful about choosing where to go and take stock of her health before having a massage.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer