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Oct 20, 2023

A client with a 3-week-old pacemaker wants a relaxation massage. Her Facebook group of other pacemaker users encourages her to do it, but her massage therapist is hesitant. When exactly is it safe for this person to get on a massage table?

Spoiler alert: No one knows for sure, but we can make some pretty confident choices, and we go over those choices on this episode of “I Have a Client Who . . .”




Books of Discovery:  



Host Bio:        


Ruth Werner is a former massage therapist, a writer, and an NCBTMB-approved continuing education provider. She wrote A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology, now in its seventh edition, which is used in massage schools worldwide. Werner is also a long-time Massage & Bodywork columnist, most notably of the Pathology Perspectives column. Werner is also ABMP’s partner on Pocket Pathology, a web-based app and quick reference program that puts key information for nearly 200 common pathologies at your fingertips. Werner’s books are available at And more information about her is available at   



Recent Articles by Ruth:       


“Working with Invisible Pain,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, November/December 2022, page 36,


“Unpacking the Long Haul,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, January/February 2022, page 35,

“Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy and Massage Therapy,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, September/October 2021, page 33,


“Pharmacology Basics for Massage Therapists,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, July/August 2021, page 32,    






Pocket Pathology:


Clients with Medical Implants (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 18 October 2023).


Digby, G.C. et al. (2009) ‘Physiotherapy and cardiac rhythm devices: a review of the current scope of practice’, Europace: European Pacing, Arrhythmias, and Cardiac Electrophysiology: Journal of the Working Groups on Cardiac Pacing, Arrhythmias, and Cardiac Cellular Electrophysiology of the European Society of Cardiology, 11(7), pp. 850–859. Available at:


Pacemaker (for the Heart): Surgery, Types & What It Is (no date) Cleveland Clinic. Available at: (Accessed: 18 October 2023).


Pacemaker Insertion (2021). Available at: (Accessed: 18 October 2023).


Pacemakers - Who Needs Them | NHLBI, NIH (2022). Available at: (Accessed: 18 October 2023).


Q&A: Novel Therapy Holds Promise for Hypertension Treatment in Patients With Pacemakers (2023) AJMC. Available at: (Accessed: 18 October 2023).


Sabin, G. and Schuster, P. (1982) ‘[Long-term observation of arterial blood pressure after pacemaker implantation (author’s transl)]’, Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift (1946), 107(15), pp. 575–578. Available at: