Massage Therapists spend a lot of time telling you about all the awesome ways that massage can help and all the reasons you should get a massage. Sometimes, however, you should cancel or postpone that session. Here we explore some of the reasons NOT to get a massage.
If you have something contagious, please reschedule your massage. If you have a bug, stay home and get better. If you have a skin ailment (fungal infection, poison ivy, etc…) please wait until it has subsided before getting a massage. It is possible that receiving massage can make you “worse.” This includes pretty much any “itis,” a cold, the flu, pink eye, ringworm, poison ivy, staph, MRSA, norovirus, the “stomach flu,” lice, and much more. We will not be upset if you have to reschedule in order to take care of yourself. Plus our staff and other customers will thank you for not spreading the love.
If you have just injured yourself in the last day or two, a deep muscular massage may be too much for your injured body. If you have a high level of pain, please seek medical attention in case you have a serious injury. Generally, heat or swelling in an area need to subside prior to massage as well. In some cases, a light lymphatic massage may be acceptable to reduce swelling and ease pain and anxiety. However, for muscular massage, the injury needs to be attended to medically and it needs to be on its way to healing.
If you have recently had surgery, your doctor needs to clear you for a return to muscular massage prior to resuming a normal massage routine. Similarly if you are scheduled for surgery, your therapist will adjust the massage in order to avoid changing anything in the tissue the surgery will be targeting. In both cases a light prehab/rehab lymphatic massage may be acceptable to bolster the immune system and manage swelling, pain, and anxiety.
If you have a chronic condition think about rescheduling you when you have a flare up. During a flare up you don’t feel well and massage has the potential to make your symptoms worse. Better to reschedule for when your body can fully benefit from all massage has to offer. In some cases, however, a light pressure massage, lymphatic massage, or energy work may be helpful during a flare up, but generally not a standard massage.
If you have a compromised cardiovascular system, massage may be a no-go until you get it under control. Any type of blood clot issue must be resolved prior to receiving massage. Heart failure or a recent heart attack also preclude massage. Likewise if you have a known aneurysm please avoid massage, unless the aneurysm has been diagnosed as stable.
Under ongoing medical care
If you are under ongoing medical care, you must obtain consent from your primary care provider prior to receiving massage.
Massage should enhance your wellness and following these precautions will help you steer clear of potential negative side-effects. Below we have a more comprehensive listing of specific conditions that preclude massage. Above all we want you to… be well.
List of conditions that require postponing massage
AIDS* (when in advanced stages)
Allergic reaction (when acute)
Anemia (when severe)
Ankylosing Spondylitis flare up* (wait until flare up subsides)
Boils that are accompanied by fever and/or swollen lymph nodes
Blood clots (embolism or thrombus)
Bronchitis (while acute)
Burns (second or third degree)
Candidiasis (when severe)
Cellulitis (until completely healed)
Cold (while contagious)
Cirrhosis* (when in advanced stages)
COPD* (when in advanced stages)
Crohn’s flare up*
Dermatitis (when severe)
Diabetes (when in advanced stages)
Discal issues (herniation, degeneration, disruption)* (wait until not inflamed)
Diverticulitis flare up
Flu (while contagious)
Fungal infection (when severe or contagious)
Gallstones/biliary colic (when gallstones are lodges/painful)
Gastroenteritis flare up (norovirus, salmonella, shigella, E. coli, C. difficile, parasites, fungal infection, etc…)
Gout flare up*
Guillain-Barre syndrome (when acute)
Heart Attack (wait until clotting is controlled and into recovery)
Hemophilia* (when severe)
Hepatitis (when acute)
Herpes outbreak especially when blisters are present
Injury* (get proper diagnosis, wait until subacute)
Kidney stones/renal colic (when kidney stones are lodged/painful)
Lupus flare up*
Lyme flare up*
Malaria (when acute)
Mononucleosis (wait until in recovery)
Multiple sclerosis flare up
Pneumonia (while acute)
Poison Ivy/Poison Oak
Rheumatoid arthritis flare up
Sickle cell disease*
Sinus infection (while acute)
STD (when active)
Stroke (wait until clotting is controlled and into recovery)
Tendonitis* (wait until subacute)
Tenosynovitis (wait until subacute)
Ulcerative colitis flare up
Urinary Tract Infection (when active)
*Although regular massage should be avoided, energy work, lymphatic massage, or very light pressure massage may be ok depending on your specific case.