Today, I bring you an important message: getting a massage isn’t always a good idea. As much as I love massage therapy and enjoy extolling its benefits, it’s not actually the answer to all the world’s ills or to all of your bodily ailments. When you are sick, sometimes it’s better for you to stay home.
It might seem like a good idea, when you’re under the weather, to lie down on the warm massage table and get yourself some care and deeper rest. Sometimes it’s just the thing. I’ve written here about how great massage is for the immune system (and touched on it here), but the context was prevention rather than curing current illness. If you’re feeling vaguely run-down but not actually sick, massage can be a great way to rejuvenate and steel yourself against the germfest that is deep winter. And sometimes, massage can help you feel better. I wrote just last week about self-massage for sinuses, and I do a top-notch face massage to assist with drainage for the stuffy-headed among you to get you breathing better. But let’s be clear about this: assisting with drainage is pure symptom relief. If you’ve got a crazy sinus infection, please go to a doctor. Massage is not going to fix it.
If you have any kind of acute infection or if you are running a fever, please stay home. These are systemic contraindications here in New York (it’s believed that boosting your circulation can speed the spread of infection throughout the body), which means I’m not even allowed to give you a full-body circulatory massage. You’re not going to want to put your face in the cradle anyway, and it’s frankly not very nice to go sharing infectious illnesses with your massage therapist and fellow clients. Occasionally, caring means not sharing.
If you’re feeling sick and are not sure whether or not to keep your massage appointment, err on the side of caution and reschedule. If you’re sick enough that the thought of going to the doctor has crossed your mind, please do that instead. Still not sure? Give your massage therapist a call. We are an understanding lot, and we can help you decide if staying in bed will be a better option for you.