Sunday, January 20, 2019

Should I cancel my massage if I’m sick?

Yes, please.  Definitely cancel your session if you’re sick.  Great!  We’re done here.

…Nah, we’ve got a bunch more to cover.  There are lots of variables to being sick.  What does that even mean and why does it matter?  Let’s dig in.


What is ‘sick’?

For determining your ability to receive massage, ‘sick’ means one or any combination of the following:

     Fever and related symptoms



     Unusual fatigue

     Respiratory issues



     Very runny and/or stuffy sinuses

     Sore throat

     GI issues




If you have any of the above happening, it’s best to cancel.


Massage isn’t going to help you get better

A sick body needs rest, and receiving massage is an active task.  Massage causes change in the body and your body has to work to maintain stability.  Getting a massage when you are sick takes attention away from rest and recovery, and that’s not helping you get better.

Plus, you’re not going to be comfortable on the massage table.  Sure, it sounds like a warm, squishy massage table would be great.  But the moment you put your already-stuffy head into that face cradle, you’ll realize the error of your ways.  Gravity and pressure are not your friend here.  Even if I do a great face massage to drain your sinuses, you’ll likely feel worse when you get off the table.

If you’re feeling at all dizzy or loopy, lying face down can make that sensation even worse.  Remember getting ‘the spins’ when you drank a little too much?  That.  Only worse because you’ll be worried about puking on the floor of the massage room.

There is often some gray area, especially if you are in the recovery phase of a virus or bacterial infection.  You may have that lingering dry cough, well past the stage of contagion or actual illness.  Or you could have seasonal allergies that make you a runny mess.

If you’re unsure about your situation, please call us before your appointment and we can make a decision together. 

It’s really, really easy to spread those germs

If you come in sick, you may get the massage therapist (and her other clients) sick.  Even with the best handwashing, coughing into your elbow, and precision skills slam-dunking your dirty tissue into the trash bin, you’re likely to leave a few germs hanging in the air and I’m likely to breathe them in.

There’s a lot we just can’t control about cold and flu season.  We may have been exposed without knowing it yet, and be contagious for a few days before symptoms show up.  That’s just part of living in a world with other people.  But we can control where we go and who we see while we are symptomatic.  I know it’s a bummer to delay your massage, it’s also the right thing to do when you are contagious.

Stay healthy

You already know the best ways to stay healthy through cold and flu season (but I’ll remind you anyway).  Get a flu shot, wash your hands, get enough sleep, and get out into the fresh air when possible.

If you feel something coming on, do your best to cancel whatever you can, keep your activities to a bare minimum and just rest.  Stay hydrated.  Ask for help if you need it.  That’s sometimes hard to do, but worth the effort.

Here’s to staying healthy throughout the flu season and the rest of the year too!


More sources on contagious factors, etc.

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