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Can you have a massage when you're sick?

Updated: 06 Nov 2023

Duvet day - cosy scene of woman lying in bed

When you're unwell or feeling run down, a relaxing massage may seem like the perfect solution. It’s well known that massages can decrease tension and support the immune system so it might seem like a simple quick fix, but before you book a mobile massage there are some things to consider.

Massage may push your body to its limits

During an illness your body is already working hard to fight either a virus or infection, so if you then get a massage and force your body to work on flushing out toxins as well, it could be too much for your system to take.

It’s important to conserve your energy when you're unwell so you can get better as quickly as possible, so sometimes avoiding massages can actually be more beneficial. Lying face down to get a massage may also be very uncomfortable, especially if you’re congested and have a runny nose.

Are you contagious or have a fever?

You should never get a massage if you are contagious. Your therapist will not be pleased if they turn up for an appointment and there’s a chance you can pass on an illness to them, so to avoid having to be turned away go by the rule: ‘If you’re too sick to go to work, you’re too sick for a massage’.

You should also not get a massage if you have a fever. If you are sensitive to the touch in any way avoid massage which will stimulate the skin. A firm massage moves the body around with light force, which can increase feelings of nausea, so if you are already feeling nauseous be sure to avoid massages.

It may help you after a cold

When you’re no longer experiencing cold and flu symptoms and you're ready to get back to work, a massage could be beneficial. If you've been coughing a lot it's probable that your chest, upper back and neck muscles have become tight.

Getting a massage will relieve tensions in these areas and can also help to break up any trapped phlegm in your respiratory system. Again it's crucial not to book while you're likely to be contagious.

Reflexology might be a good option

Certain treatments, like reflexology foot massage, may also help to relieve any headaches or sinus pressure you can still experience as the end of a cold.

Focusing solely on the hands and feet, reflexology treatments can target specific points in the body and really work on aiding health concerns. You can also ask your therapist to use essentials oils when they massage you if they have them in their kit, as many have antiviral and antibacterial properties.

New to Urban? Discover easy home massages.

We’re Urban, on a mission to empower people through wellness. Our app is the easy way to book massage, physio, osteopathy and beauty services (when you’re fully-recovered!) to your home. Simply choose your pre-vetted practitioner, pick a time and place, and relax.

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