massage therapy

Common Side Effects Of Massage Therapy

Massage therapy involves rubbing, stroking and tapping the body to help promote relaxation both in the body and in the psyche. There are many different massage techniques, including deep tissue massage, trigger point massage, lymphatic drainage massage, sports massage and acupressure. Studies have shown that massage is an effective way to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, encourage healing and promote circulation. Along with the many benefits massage offers, there are also several side effects that can occur. Most of these side effects can be avoided by being open and honest with your massage therapist.

Temporary Muscle Soreness

One of the most common side effects of massage is muscle discomfort. To help combat this side effect, let the massage therapist know if they are causing any discomfort. If you are injured, it is important to alert your massage therapist before he or she begins working on you.

Muscle soreness also occurs when toxins that are trapped in the muscles are released. These toxins can be reabsorbed by your muscles if care is not taken. Massage therapists recommend drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily. This will help flush toxins out of the body.

Low Glucose Levels

Did you know that your blood sugar levels can drop when you have a massage? Diabetics are encouraged to check their glucose levels before and immediately after a massage to determine how massage affects their glucose levels. Regular massage can help regulate blood sugar levels; however, the massage therapist should be made aware of any blood sugar issues before a massage is begun.


If you take medications to thin your blood, it is important to inform your massage therapist before getting a massage. There are several techniques that should be avoided if a patient is on blood thinners, such as deep tissue massage and acupressure. For this reason, it is essential that you are honest with your therapist about any prescription medications, over the counter medications and herbal formulas that you take regularly. Finally, if you have any medical conditions, you should consult your physician before beginning any massage therapy programs.

Allergic Reactions

During your massage, your therapist may use a variety of products to help you relax and encourage healing. The therapist may use creams and essential oils during your massage. These scented products can cause allergic reactions in certain individuals. If you suffer with allergies, notify your massage therapist before your session.

Other Side Effects if you notice any redness, swelling or irritation to the skin, contact your physician immediately. This can be caused by an allergic reaction. Other symptoms of an allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, chest pain or trouble swallowing. If you experience any of these symptoms get immediate medical attention.


Believe it or not, a fracture can occur from even the lightest touch. Therefore, if you have been diagnosed with any medical condition that can cause bones to become fragile or brittle, such as cancer, osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis, talk with your doctor before visiting a massage therapist.

As with any type of treatment, it is best to get approval from your physician before beginning massage therapy. Once your doctor has approved it, find a licensed therapist who will work with you to relieve your tension, relax your muscles and provide healing.

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