Not feeling well? Should you get a massage?

We have all been there, myself included as a massage therapist! You have been planning and looking forward to the day of your massage, THEN… Suddenly, you don’t feel well! You have the start of a runny nose, head congestion, body aches, sore throat, or maybe even a cough. Should you keep your appointment? Sadly, the answer to that question is NO! Here is why…

Massage is known for increasing circulation throughout the body. In a heathy person, increasing circulation is beneficial, but not in someone who is in the early (acute) stages of illness. If you have come down with the common cold or flu, the increased circulation created through massage will make you feel much worse. Increased circulation during illness will move the infection/virus through your body much faster, leading to worsening symptoms and a longer recovery time. An acute illness needs to be healed with rest and fluids!

If you have ever had a massage before, then you know that having your head faced down in the head rest is also known for causing increased congestion of the sinuses. This is the result of the increased circulation and release of metabolic waste throughout your system. If you are already dealing with congestion, your massage will not be very relaxing or enjoyable spending the majority unable to breathe. Being sick also lowers your immune system, making you far more susceptible to picking up anything else that might be lingering in the office from other clients.

Not only do you need to consider what is best for your own health and wellness, but also the health of others. We’ve all experienced that co-worker or person near us in the store that can’t seem to stop coughing and looks like he/she should be home in bed… You think to yourself, “I don’t want to get sick!” By coming in to your massage in the early stages of illness, you are also putting your massage therapist and other clients at risk, causing unnecessary spreading of illness. Some people can work when not feeling well, but a massage therapist cannot and should not for the sake of clients and the physical aspects of the job.

Though I can’t speak for all massage therapists, I know that within my own practice, clients never need to be concerned with cancelling last minute due to illness. Every effort will be made to get you rescheduled in a timely manner when you are feeling better. The acute stage can typically last 2-5 days (depending on your illness), but your best gage is to listen to your body and how you are feeling overall. You don’t need to be free of all the sniffles to receive massage, but you do want to be able to handle the face down positioning and be over the contagious period of your illness.

Getting you healthy and back to living your life well is the most important thing! Your massage will be waiting for you…