It probably sounds like a lovely way to spend a self-care afternoon: imbibe some marijuana and get a massage. Like the ultimate relaxation recipe, except that according to New York State your licensed massage therapist might have to turn you away at the door and reschedule your appointment.
You see in NYS we have only two absolute contraindications (things that means we cannot perform massage therapy on an individual), and one of them is as follows:
“When the therapist or patient/client is in an altered state of cognitive awareness from the use of prescription, and/or over-the-counter medications, alcohol, or other substances, and the patient/client cannot give informed consent and/or the therapist cannot provide appropriate treatment. Consent for the patient/client may be given by guardians and other caregivers when authorized to do so.”
–NYS Education Dept. Office of the Professions
What this means, in simpler terms, is that a licensed massage therapist (such as myself) cannot provide services to anyone who cannot provide me appropriate feedback, and who legally cannot give me consent to work on them. This doesn’t just apply to marijuana of course; it also applies to alcohol, prescription meds, and anything else that can be considered a mind-altering substance.
You see, consent and feedback are important parts of the massage therapist and client relationship. I need to know that I am not hurting you, nor making you feel uncomfortable. You need to be able to communicate with me effectively in regards to the session so that we both can participate in a safe and beneficial treatment. This means, just like you, I also cannot imbibe anything prior to a session.
My ultimate goal is to provide you the very best care I can as a licensed massage therapist, and I don’t want to have to turn you away at the door because of a little marijuana (or otherwise). Now that it is recreationally legal in NYS, this is a conversation I have had a couple of times and the advice I always give is to simply change the order: massage first, then go home and toke. Besides, I’d hate to think you’re driving under the influence, which makes this order all the more beneficial.
So please friends, imbibe responsibly after you’ve enjoyed your massage.