Should I come in for a massage when I’m sick?
That’s a good question. When you’re feeling sick and achy it might sound like a great idea to come in for a nice warm massage and have your aches and pains soothed by healing hands. In reality, it’s actually never a good idea to come in for a massage when you’re sick! Let’s discuss why.
“Massage does boost the immune system and relieve your tension. However, when your body is already fighting off a virus due to a cold or flu, a massage can actually make things worse,” writes Casey Holliman, LMT for Performance Bodywork. “Massage increases circulation throughout the body. With this increased circulation and manipulation of the muscles, it releases and/or pushes metabolic waste through your system faster than normal.”
He continues on to say, “When you are already dealing with symptoms in the early stages of the sickness, the massage can increase your symptoms and make you feel worse.Your body is already having to fight off the virus, you don’t want to be adding to it. Best idea is to stay home and rest. If you are too sick to go to work, probably too sick to get a massage.”
I have a cold, not the flu or a bacterial infection. Is it serious enough to reschedule my massage?
Yes. It can be difficult to distinguish between a cold, the flu, and certain bacterial infections. In fact, both viruses and bacteria can cause some illnesses. Bronchitis and sinus infections are two examples.
I don’t think I’m contagious. Should I reschedule?
Yes. You cannot know for certain whether or not you can spread viruses or bacteria.
- You may spread a virus one day before symptoms develop.
- You may spread a virus if you still have symptoms—even if you have almost recovered.
- You may spread bacteria until you take an antibiotic for 72 hours and your symptoms have subsided.
Do the studio’s sanitation practices prevent risk?
Our studio strictly adheres to Washington State Department of Health standards for sanitation. However, cold and flu viruses, along with bacteria, spread through the air. Even if you cover your cough or sneeze, you send infected droplets through the air when you talk. Treatment rooms are enclosed and humid spaces. Infected droplets can land in the mouth or nose of your therapist. They can land on hair, skin, and clothes and stay infectious for several hours. Clients and staff can then carry your virus back to work or home and infect others—especially those in high-risk groups.
Clients and staff who are at high risk include pregnant individuals, people who are 65 and older, people who have chronic conditions such as asthma, and people who are immunosuppressed such as cancer patients.
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle, chest, or joint pain, body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)
When you’re sick, it’s best to play it safe. Don’t put others at risk, and don’t put yourself at risk!