To Massage or not to Massage…?

Now that the cold and flu season is on it’s way, this is the perfect time to discuss whether you should come in for that treatment, or should you postpone until you’re feeling better.

It’s important to note that, as previously mentioned, massage is an excellent tool for the prevention of colds and flu because it can:

  • Improve blood and lymphatic circulation, helping to boost your immune system;
  • Reduce the effects of stress, making you less susceptible to illness;
  • Helps you sleep better, a good night’s sleep is key to good health.

Having said this, once you are suffering from a cold, a massage can make you feel decidedly worse.  One of the ways that massage works is by increasing your circulation, both blood and lymph. If you are in the acute stage of infection (typically the first 2 – 3 days) having a massage will zap that infection through the pathways much quicker than normal, putting additional stress on your already beleaguered immune system.  On the one hand you might feel better quickly, but more than likely, you will feel a lot worse.

Another factor to consider is the health of the therapist and other clients.  If you’re contagious you can easily pass the cold on to the therapist and the other client’s that will be visiting the clinic after you.

A good rule of thumb is that if you are developing a cold it is probably better to reschedule your massage and get some rest. If you have a fever, you should definitely not come for a massage, no matter how achy those joints!  Once you are in the post acute phase of your infection, which is usually about a week after the first  symptoms appear, then you should be able to come in for a treatment.  But please be aware that even at this stage, the next day you might feel as though you are relapsing, but that should pass within around 24 hours and your recovery should speed up.

Days 1 -3 Acute Stage : No massage
1 week after first symptoms appear : Ok to come in, as long as the worst symptoms have abated.
Fever :  No massage until fever has cleared up completely.

But as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.  So before you get sick, book in for some regular treatments to keep your immune system in tip top shape and help keep the colds at bay in the first place.

A few drops of lavender or eucalyptus on a tissue placed above your monitor at work can help ward off airborne infections from colleagues – create your own sweet smelling forcefield!