With emphysema, the alveoli of the lungs become stretched and lose their elasticity. The result is a decrease in surface area and the limiting of oxygen - carbon dioxide exchange in the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chronic dry coughing, cyanosis and a susceptibility to respiratory infection.
If the client has early stage emphysema, massage can be very helpful. In advanced stages of the disease, if the client is having heart problems, problems with circulation or infections, massage using stimulating strokes is precautioned. Because of breathing difficulties, care needs to be taken in positioning client during massage session.