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  • Writer's pictureCorey Richason, LMT

When You're Sick, You Should Skip It

Updated: May 6

Massage therapy is renowned for its many health benefits, from relaxation to pain relief. However, there's a crucial caveat to keep in mind: massage is not a "one-size-fits-all" solution. It's great for recovery, maintenance and mental health, but when you're feeling under the weather, seeking a massage might not be the best choice. Aside from the risk of passing something contagious onto another, there are some important reasons as to why massage therapy is not beneficial when you're sick and why you should prioritize other aspects of self-care during illness.

Fever and Metabolic Stress

When illness strikes, the body often responds with a fever. Fever is a sign that your immune system is hard at work, fighting off invaders. At this point, your metabolic rate increases, putting additional stress on your body. Introducing massage therapy can elevate your metabolism further, potentially worsening your fever and discomfort.

Impact on Circulation

Being under the weather can lead to significant changes in your circulatory system, such as an increased heart rate and alterations in blood pressure. Massage, on the other hand, affects circulation by promoting vasodilation, which can exacerbate these changes. This interaction can strain your cardiovascular system, and may worsen already pre-existing conditions.

Immune Response

Your immune system works tirelessly to combat infections when you're sick. This is why its important to rest, so that it can do it's job with minimal interruption. Massage, however, may divert resources away from this critical response, potentially slowing down your recovery process. It's essential to give your immune system the best chance to do its job effectively.

Inflammation and Microtraumas

Inflammation is a natural part of the body's defense against illness. Unfortunately, massage can induce microtraumas in the muscles, leading to localized inflammation. When your body is already dealing with inflammation due to illness, adding more may not be beneficial.

When you're sick, prioritize rest, hydration, and consulting with a healthcare provider to support your body's natural healing processes. Your well-being is the top priority.


Massage therapy can be a fantastic tool for promoting relaxation and well-being, but it will not benefit your when you're sick. When you're battling illness, the benefits of massage may be outweighed by potential risks and discomfort. Understanding the science behind why massage is not beneficial when you're sick can help you make informed decisions about your health and prioritize other forms of self-care during illness. Your health comes first, so the next time you're feeling under the weather, give your body the time it needs to recover.

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