Can a Massage Make You Sick?

Can a Massage Make You Sick?

Massage is a popular practice enjoyed by millions of people for relaxation and stress relief. However, some people experience unpleasant symptoms like nausea, dizziness, or fatigue after a massage session. This raises the question: can a massage actually make you sick?

The answer is yes, it can, but it’s not always the case. In most instances, feeling unwell after a massage is temporary and can be attributed to various factors, such as:


Massage can increase blood flow and lymphatic drainage, leading to dehydration if you haven’t consumed enough fluids.

Muscle release:

Deep tissue massages can release toxins and metabolic waste from muscles, which can overwhelm the body’s detoxification system.

Circulation changes: 

Massage alters blood flow patterns, which can cause temporary symptoms like dizziness or lightheadedness.


Massage can trigger inflammation, leading to muscle soreness, fatigue, and headaches.

Pre-existing conditions: 

People with underlying health conditions may be more susceptible to side effects from massage.

Massage technique: 

An inappropriate or overly intense massage can cause muscle strain, discomfort, and other problems.


Some individuals are simply more sensitive to the effects of massage than others.

It’s important to note that the “toxin release” theory often associated with post-massage sickness is largely a myth. While massage can help promote circulation and lymphatic drainage, there’s no scientific evidence to suggest it releases significant amounts of toxins.

How to Minimize the Risk of Feeling Sick After a Massage?

How to Minimize the Risk of Feeling Sick After a Massage?

Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your massage.

Communicate with your therapist: Inform them about any health conditions you have and your preferred pressure level.

Schedule your massage wisely: Avoid getting a massage if you’re feeling unwell or exhausted.

Choose the right type of massage: Opt for a gentler massage technique if you’re prone to side effects.

Listen to your body: Take breaks during the massage if you feel uncomfortable.

Rest after your massage: Allow your body time to recover.

Eat a healthy snack: Replenish your energy with a light snack after the massage.

Common Symptoms of Feeling Sick After a Massage:

SymptomPossible Causes
NauseaDehydration, toxin release, inflammation
DizzinessDehydration, circulation changes
FatigueMuscle release, inflammation, dehydration
HeadacheMuscle tension, dehydration, circulation changes
SorenessMuscle release, inflammation
LightheadednessDehydration, circulation changes

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How long will I feel sick after a massage?

It depends on the individual and the cause of the symptoms. Most side effects resolve within a few hours, but they may last longer if you’re dehydrated or have a pre-existing condition.

Should I see a doctor if I feel sick after a massage?

If your symptoms are severe or persist for more than 24 hours, it’s advisable to consult a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Can I prevent myself from getting sick after a massage?

By following the tips in this article, you can significantly reduce the risk of experiencing side effects. However, some people are more susceptible than others and may still experience some discomfort.

Is it safe to get a massage if I’m pregnant?

Yes, massage is generally safe during pregnancy. However, it’s crucial to inform your therapist about your pregnancy and discuss any specific concerns you may have.

Is it okay to use a massage gun if I’m prone to feeling sick after a massage?

While massage guns offer similar benefits to traditional massage, they may also cause side effects. Start with a low pressure setting and gradually increase it as your tolerance builds. If you experience any discomfort, stop using the gun and consult with a healthcare professional.


While massage can occasionally cause unpleasant symptoms, it’s important to remember that these are usually temporary and can be minimized by taking certain precautions. By understanding the potential causes and implementing preventive measures, you can enjoy a relaxing and beneficial massage experience.

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