There are a number of situations in which massage is contraindicated, meaning that it is not recommended. In all cases, it is important to disclose any underlying medical conditions and concerns you may have to your massage therapist, so that he or she can adjust the session to fit your body and needs. It is also a good idea to discuss massage with your doctor, as he or she may believe that massage is contraindicated for you, or the doctor may have recommendations for modalities which would be best suited to your condition.
With all of the following conditions, massage is contraindicated: fever, infection, broken bones, infectious disease, high blood pressure, tumors, open wounds, muscle ruptures, heavy bruising, herniation, burns, myositis ossificans, thrombosis, and bleeding disorders such as hemophilia. Massage is also not recommended for people with severe heart conditions and some skin infections. Some gastrointestinal complaints can also be complicated by massage, and at the very least, massage can be uncomfortable in these situations, so you may want to discuss such situations with a massage therapist before you begin.
In some cases, it is safe to get massage, but the therapist should avoid deepwork. These situations include massage on the elderly, along with people who have osteoporosis, arthritis, and rheumatism. Deep work is also contraindicated for people with autoimmune diease, Hodgkin's disease, recent scar tissue, and conditions like arteriosclerosis.
There are some conditions for which massage can be beneficial for some people, but not for others. For example, some doctors say that massage is contraindicated for cancer, while others recommend gentle massage for cancer patients. Joint dysfunction can be greatly eased by massage, but it can also be exacerbated, and likewise for some psychiatric conditions. Massage is also not recommended directly at the site of varicose veins.
Some people believe that massage is contraindicated for women who are menstruating. This is not, in fact, the case; in fact, massage can sometimes help with cramping. However, as a courtesy, you should ask the massage therapist if he or she is comfortable working on you. Massage can also be highly beneficial for pregnant women, when it is offered by a provider who has been trained to offer pregnancy massage.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of conditions for which massage is contraindicated. If you have a rare medical condition or you are taking medication to treat a specific medical issue, always consult your doctor before making an appointment for a massage.
Reasons Why NOT to Massage/Spa when You’re Sick:
1. Massages can make you sicker, faster. Since massage gets your blood circulating better, it can make whatever sickness is happening spread more efficiently, too. It can turn a minor head cold into full-on illness.
2. Getting sick is your body telling you to slow down and rest. A massage is relaxing, yes, but it’s actually work for your body to respond to the stimulating touch techniques, such as shiatsu and reflexology. Bodies can’t heal when they’re working.
3. During a facial, hot steam is most often used to open up your pores. When it’s cold out (which it is today), going back and forth between hot and cold temperatures will shock your system… another way to make you even sicker. It’s normally a revitalizing therapy to switch between hot and cold, but your body just can’t handle it the same way when you’re under the weather.
4. Same goes for steam rooms and saunas. You may feel good inside them, but it’s not good to play with temperature shifts like that when you’re sick. Bodies don’t “sweat out” germs, so it’s not actually healing you. Also, you might faint.
5. When you’re not feeling up to speed, you won’t enjoy your spa treatment as much as you should. A therapist always wants you to be relaxed and feel wonderful, which you can’t do if you’re coughing up phlegm and you need another tissue.
6. Being sick means your immune system is weakened, which makes you more susceptible to any germs that may be lurking in a jacuzzi or changing room. Being in a public space in general is a bad idea.
7. Probably the most obvious reason: germs spread. When you’re inside a steam room, sauna, or even a treatment room with your therapist, your nasty little germs are creeping everywhere. That’s inconsiderate to everyone else!