Lupus and Massage

All CEUs delivered immediately
via electronic download. All merchandise shipped in 1-5 business days, depending on your location.
Almost one million people in the US have lupus, making it more common than MS, CF, leukemia, and muscular dystrophy combined. This course suggests the most beneficial massage techniques to offer for those suffering. Below are chapter descriptions to help you make a more informed decision about whether this course if right for you.
Lupus & Massage Course outline (4 CEUs):
  • Chapter One: What is Lupus?

Lupus is an auto-immune disease wherein the body becomes allergic to itself. It is “the opposite of what takes place in cancer or AIDS. In lupus, the body overreacts to an unknown stimulus and makes too many antibodies, or proteins directed against body tissue.”i The technical name for lupus is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (S.L.E.). It can affect any organ, including the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and lungs. Patients with lupus will experience “flares,” where the disease’s symptoms become severe during certain periods, between which the patient feels well.ii

  • Chapter Two: History of Lupus

While lupus has just recently gained wide recognition as a common illness, descriptions of the disease date as far back as Hippocrates in ancient Greece. Lupus diagnoses of a known collection of symptoms (rash, kidney disorders, inflammation) began to rise in the 19th century.

The word “lupus” itself means “wolf,” and developed out of the butterfly rash on the cheeks of lupus patients, which medical practitioners thought resembled the facial markings of wolves. The term lupus was coined by Physician Rogerius in the 1200s.iii The technical term lupus erythematosus was coined by Pierre Cazenave in 1851.iv

  • Chapter Three: What Causes Lupus?

For the most part, the cause of lupus is unknown. There is some evidence that lupus can run in families- for example, if one identical twin is diagnosed, the other is more likely to be diagnosed at some point. However, there is no gene or group of genes that has been proven to be the cause of the illness.

  • Chapter Four: How is Lupus Treated?

There is no known cure for lupus, so treatment focuses mainly on the suppression of symptoms and flare-ups. Medical treatment and lifestyle changes can hopefully coax your body into remission, where flare-ups stop happening.

  • Chapter Five: Alternative Therapy (Other Than Massage Therapy)

Patients with lupus will probably be on a cocktail or oral and topical medications, and many will seek alternative therapies to help with their symptoms. Clients who come to you for massage may also be seeking other forms of therapy, such as herbal supplementation or acupuncture. Be sure you ask your clients about any and all treatments they’re undergoing so you can adjust your own treatment if necessary.

  • Chapter Six: Your Client’s Emotional State

A client who has been diagnosed with lupus will require special care from you, both physically and emotionally. The frustration of dealing with an incurable illness may very well affect your sessions together.

The client might experience intense anger over their diagnosis, or over the fact that their life will have to change to accommodate the illness. There may be fear or depression, or even guilt. These are the most common emotional reactions to lupus.

  • Chapter Seven: How is the Massage Different?

Massage can have a number of benefits for a lupus patient. It is relaxing and calming, which can help the client deal with the day to day stresses of living with chronic illness. It releases endorphins that can relieve pain. Massage can help relieve the aches and soreness associated with lupus. It can also reduce inflammation, leaving the limbs more limber and flexible.

  • Chapter Eight: Nutrition

Lupus patients will often be put on special diets or exercise regimes that are tailored to help prevent flare-ups from their individual environmental triggers. You should be familiar with common diets and exercise plans for lupus patients because they may affect your massage plans.

  • Chapter Nine: Exercise

Skipping exercise is not an option for lupus patients who want to live as healthily as possible. This means that they may come to you with soreness or aches related to their workout, so it’s important to understand them. Exercise helps keep a lupus patient’s joints flexible. It helps ease pain, and prevent stiffness.

  • Chapter Ten: Lupus and Relationships

Your client’s entire life will be affected by his or her illness, including relationships with their family and friends. Difficulties in these areas will translate into stress and tension that you will need to help relieve during your massage therapy sessions. Lupus is tough to deal with for the entire family, so you might even find your client’s relatives coming in for your services, as well.




i Daniel J Wallace, MD., The Lupus Book, 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2005


ii New York State Department of Health, What is Lupus,


iii Theresa Foy DiGeronimo, New Hope for People With Lupus, Prima Publishing, 2002


iv Daniel J Wallace, MD., The Lupus Book, 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2005



Continuing education units (CEUs) are provided via electronic download in PDF format. Review the course work at your own pace and then take the included test online. You can print your certificate immediately after passing each test! All coursework is NCBTMB approved (NCBTMB # 451897-12). NOTE: Each state has different requirements. Please be sure to check our state requirements page and contact your state to verify your requirements.