Feel like treating your body to a little tender loving care but wondering if massages are bad for you?
Getting massage therapy can be a great way to relax and reduce stress levels.
This form of alternative medicine uses various techniques to manipulate the connective tissues of our body. It's widely employed by people for relaxation, chronic pain relief, and to improve physical function.
Despite its wide range of benefits, most people are hung up on whether or not it's safe to get a massage.
So how true are the rumors that massage can be bad for your health? Is there anything you should be aware of before booking our next appointment?
To shed some light on the matter, we'll walk you through whether massages are bad so you can make an informed decision before getting your next massage.
You'll also learn how to minimize any potential risks and maximize its benefits, so you can make the most of your massage sessions.
Examining Whether Massages Are Bad for You
So, are massages really bad for you?
If you are considering treating your body to a massage session, it's important to understand what you are getting into.
Studies have shown that while massage therapy has a number of benefits, it is not without risks. Yes, you read that right: massage therapy can present a range of potential risks — some minor and some more serious.
Let's take a closer look at them in the next section.
Skin redness is a common side effect
One of the most common risks of massage therapy is skin redness.
It's caused by increased blood circulation to the area that was massaged. The redness usually disappears within a few hours after the session.
Redness can also occur if the massage therapist applies intense massage pressure or uses an oil or lotion that is too hot for your skin. It can also manifest if the massage therapist does not use appropriate lubrication during your massage session.
For those making use of massage tools, skin redness can occur if the device is not kept clean or is used incorrectly.
You may get infected
Are you prone to infectious skin conditions?
If so, you may want to take extra precautions before getting a massage.
As we all know, treating your body to massage therapy involves your massage therapist coming into direct contact with your skin. As such, it can be possible for infectious skin conditions to spread from the massage therapist to the person receiving the massage or vice versa.
If you're making use of a light massage tool, you'll also want to know that this can also be a risk.
It can lead to nerve damage
Another potential risk with massage therapy is nerve damage.
This can occur if the massage therapist applies too much pressure to areas of the body where nerves are located. Nerve damage can be very serious and can lead to pain, numbness, or even paralysis in extreme cases.
If you are making use of a massage tool, you'll also want to be aware of the potential for nerve damage. Tools like electric massage guns can generate powerful vibrations to help relieve muscle spasms, but if used improperly, these vibrations can cause nerve damage.
It can break down blood clots
Are you familiar with the concept of blood clotting?
This important process helps your body stop bleeding when you have a cut or an injury. While it is essential for healing, it can also be problematic if these blood clots are broken down.
That's what can occur during a therapeutic massage therapy session. When a therapist uses their hands or a massage tool to apply pressure to blood clot areas, your blood pressure is increased, and the clot can become broken down.
This can be a dangerous situation, as clotted blood flows to sensitive areas of the body like the heart and can cause a stroke or other serious health complications like a heart attack.
You may experience headaches
Experiencing headaches after a massage is not uncommon, but this doesn't necessarily mean that the massage is bad for you.
Causes of these post-massage headaches can range from dehydration to the pressure applied during the massage or even poor positioning.
Headaches can range from mild to severe and can last anywhere from a few minutes to several days.
Nausea can also be a potential side effect
Most people also experience some degree of nausea after receiving a massage.
This is usually mild and dissipates within a few minutes or hours. However, in rare cases, nausea can be more severe and may last for several hours or even days.
There are a number of reasons why this can happen.
For one, a lot of qualified therapists use oils and other ingredients that can cause nausea. What's more, some may apply excessive pressure or move too quickly during the massage.
Dehydration may also play a role, as may the stress of the massage itself. If you are prone to nausea, it may be wise to speak to a qualified massage therapist beforehand and explain your condition.
These are just a few of the potential risks associated with getting regular massages.
While sports massage can be a great way to relieve tension and relax, it is important to be aware of the potential for harm if not done properly. Common potential side effects include skin burns, infectious skin conditions, nerve damage, and headaches.
It's also important to be aware that massage can break down blood clots and cause nausea in some cases. To help you minimize the risks, let's discuss some of the precautions you can take when receiving a massage.
Avoiding the Side Effects of Massages Being Bad for You
While it is true that massage therapy can cause some risks, there are several steps you can take to reduce the chance of any serious side effects.
Some of them include:
Get the right type of massage
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to avoid the risks associated with massage therapy is to choose the right type of massage for you.
Different types of massage target different areas and involve different techniques. Some are meant to be gentle, while others can be more intense.
For example, if you have a blood clotting disorder, then it's best to avoid deep tissue massage. Instead, opt for a gentler massage technique, such as Swedish massage or hot stone massage therapy.
This way, you can rest assured knowing that your massage or physical therapist is using techniques and deep pressure that are safe for you.
Make sure your massage therapist is properly trained and certified
Before getting a massage, it is important to make sure that the massage therapist is properly trained and certified.
This will ensure that they are knowledgeable about the body and are able to use proper techniques for providing a safe and effective massage. If a massage therapist doesn't have a certification or license, it's best to avoid them.
Do your research if you're opting for a massage tool
If you're using a massage tool like a massage gun, you'll want to do your research and make sure the product is of good quality.
Researching the product is also important because this will tell you how powerful the vibrations are and what kind of safety features it has. This way, you are aware of any potential risks or contraindications before using the tool.
Discuss any health conditions with your massage therapist prior to the session
Are you pregnant? Do you have any underlying health conditions or sports injuries that could be affected by a massage?
It's important to let your massage therapist know about any physical or mental health conditions before the session. This will allow them to adjust their techniques accordingly and use caution when working on those areas.
In most cases, they may even recommend avoiding certain areas altogether while massaging. That's why it's important to be upfront and honest about any health issues that could be affected by a massage.
Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after the session
Another way to prevent any adverse effects from a massage is to make sure you stay hydrated.
Drinking plenty of water before and after the session will help keep your sore muscles relaxed and reduce the chances of headaches or nausea.
What's more, drinking plenty of water during the massage can help reduce muscle cramping as well as provide other health benefits. You should also avoid alcohol or caffeine prior to the session because they can cause dehydration.
Take breaks when necessary
While any type of massage therapy can benefit your body, too much of a good thing can be bad for you.
You should always give yourself ample time to rest and relax after a massage session, even if you don't feel like you need it. This will allow your body to adjust and recover properly from your massage session.
Taking breaks also helps ensure that the massage remains enjoyable and nourishing for both you and your massage therapist.
Now that you know the potential risks of massage therapy and how to prevent them, you can enjoy a safe and therapeutic massage session. Just remember to listen to your body and use common sense when it comes to selecting a licensed massage therapist and taking proper precautions.
This way, you can make sure your massage experience is beneficial and doesn't cause any undue harm to your body.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have questions about whether getting a massage is bad for you or not, we've got you covered. Find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about massage therapy below.
Could getting a massage every day be bad for me?
Getting a massage daily can be beneficial for your health, but it is important to keep in mind that the body needs time to recover after a massage session.
Too much massage in a short period of time can cause muscle soreness and fatigue, as well as other adverse effects. That's why it's important to take breaks in between massage sessions and listen to your body when deciding how often you should get a massage.
Are massages also bad for me if I don't have a medical condition?
No, massages are generally safe for people without any underlying medical conditions.
However, it is important to not overdo it, as too much massage in a short period of time can cause muscle soreness and fatigue, as well as other adverse effects. That's why it's important to take breaks in between massage sessions and listen to your body when deciding how often you should get a massage.
Also, ensure to drink plenty of water before and after the session to stay hydrated.
Hope this article provided you with answers to your questions about whether getting a massage is bad for you or not.
While there are certainly benefits to getting a massage on a regular basis, be sure to weigh the potential risks and only get a full-body massage if you’re sure it’s safe while keeping your overall health in mind.
Ways to prevent potential risks include communicating with a qualified massage therapist, getting the right type of massage for your needs, taking breaks when necessary, and drinking plenty of water before and after the session.
If you're making use of a self-massage tool like a massage chair, be sure to read the instructions carefully and use it according to the manufacturer's recommendation. Medical conditions, such as heart rate conditions or certain illnesses, may also require you to seek the advice of a doctor before getting a massage.
Now that you have a better understanding of the potential risks and how to prevent them, you can enjoy a safe and healthy massage session.
Feel free to reach out to our team of experts if you have any further questions about getting a massage.