Consider underlying health conditions before treatments

It is a tragedy that a young woman died during a tuina session ("Try tuina massage? First, check suitability"; last Friday).

Our bodies seem sturdy and can take a lot of abuse - we stress it during exercise, pull and knead on it during massages, and stretch it during yoga, mostly without irreparable harm.

But we are absolutely fragile, especially the elderly and the young. Underlying conditions, such as cardiovascular or cerebrovascular problems, make us more vulnerable.

Healthcare workers may not recognise the increased danger of death associated with the manipulation of body parts when their clients are at risk of strokes, fractures and ruptures of organs or joints, because of degenerative diseases, cancer, or the thickening or scarring of connective tissue.

All these conditions must be taken into account during treatment, to prevent tragedies.

However, tragedies and misadventures will still occur, even when all the risks are duly assessed and considered.

Doctors cover themselves with insurance policies and pay hefty premiums against such unfortunate events.Perhaps the Ministry of Health should also consider making sure chiropractic practitioners and tuina exponents are similarly insured.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2016, with the headline 'Consider underlying health conditions before treatments'. Print Edition | Subscribe