Side Effects of Massage Therapy

on Friday, 19 October 2012
Side Effects of Massage Therapy

Massage is the practice of manipulating muscles and soft tissues to improve your well-being. Many hand manipulations are inherent in massage that, if performed improperly or on a damaged body part, could cause harm. Though massage has been around for centuries and fills an important role in complementary medicine, consult a doctor before getting a massage if you have a medical condition.


The manipulations can affect changes in your body that lead to serious medical complications. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, your blood sugar levels usually change after a massage. If you have diabetes, you should make a habit of checking your blood sugar after a session to ensure that you are within your limits. A blood clot can be loosened during a massage session so avoid massage if you have an existing blood clot, a bleeding disorder or an infection in your veins.


Your tissue is weakened while undergoing chemotherapy and a massage could damage the fragile tissues if you have cancer and are getting chemotherapy treatments or radiation. The rubbing involved in massage can damage any open sores or skin lesions further. If you have an enlarged thyroid, the organ can undergo damage from the pressure. Other conditions that could be exacerbated by massage include osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, high fever, kidney or heart failure or low white blood cell counts. You should wait until your surgeon releases you before having a massage after a surgical procedure.


An experienced massage therapist should know what conditions are not conducive to massage therapy. Many accidents and injuries occur from inexperience, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Specialists trained in treating specific populations take additional classes and receive advanced training to provide massages to people with special needs. For example, massage can be dangerous if you are pregnant unless you see a therapist trained in pregnancy massage. You could become injured after a grueling race if you see someone who isn't trained in sports massage. Cancer patients should seek massage therapy treatments from specialists trained in the modality.

Side Effects

A vigorous massage can leave your muscles sore for a day and not cause any permanent damage. If the therapist is pressing too hard, you should speak up and ask her to lighten her touch. Serious side effects can occur and should be considered before having a massage. You could develop permanent nerve damage or even temporary paralysis if pressure was incorrectly applied, according to Also, most therapists use massage oils that you might have an allergic reaction to.