Massages and Illness: Tips on When to Reschedule

Posted by on November 8, 2012

A blog by Kristen Nickel, LMT, Massage Therapy Program Chair, Globe University – Wausau

Have you ever scheduled a massage only to wake up that morning with a cold and wonder if it’s still okay to get your massage? You may have heard that while you are ill a massage will help push the virus through your body faster, thus making the duration of your cold shorter. However, that is not really a good idea.

When you receive a massage while in a decreased state of immunity, you not only take the risk of feeling worse yourself, but you also risk giving your cold to your therapist. Some people can work while under the weather but Massage Therapists cannot and should not. In addition, known or not, you may be running a slight fever, and for the best interests of the client, massage should never be given while a fever is present.

What if your nose is stuffed up? It’s hard to breath just sitting up. Now imagine yourself lying face down with a stuffy nose, trying to breathe through your mouth. Part of getting a massage is about the ambiance. You get to leave the stress of your day behind, be pampered, and relax for an hour or so. That’s hard to do when you’re worried you will have to cough, sneeze, blow your nose or drool on the face cradle.

Now let’s talk muscles. If your muscles ache, you will probably take something for it, decreasing your pain perception. During your massage you may be asking your massage therapist to increase the pressure. Say you took Ibuprofen, once that wears off you might start wondering when you were run over by a Mack truck! Ibuprofen and other pain medications can also increase your chance of bruising only adding to your misery.

So the next time you wake up with a cold, call your therapist and rebook your appointment. They will certainly understand and will probably thank you for it. If you’ve had that cold for 5 days or more, talk it over with your therapist to determine if you are well enough to come in and actually enjoy that massage.

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