Colds, flu and massage

You have massage booked and yo are so looking forwards to it, but the day before your massage you wake up, your eyes are puffy, your nose is runny, and then the cough starts! You are sick! What do you do now?

The simple answer is that you call your massage therapist, tell them you are feeling ill and reschedule your massage. Massage with the flu or a cold is a big NO. Let me explain why.

Stimulating the bodies systems
Massage stimulates the body, particularly the circulatory and lymphatic systems - have you ever noticed how when you lie down on the couch after a while you start to feel a little congested even if you didn't have a cold to start with? This is a very common experience and it's the result of your body responding to the massage by moving waste products about in order to dispose of them. If you already have a cold, lying facedown on the couch and receiving a massage will make the symptoms of your cold worse, not better, essentially flooding your body with the virus at a time when it is putting all its resources into fighting it. It can also be very uncomfortable, especially with sinus or head pain, to lie facedown with your head in the cradle, for any length of time, and it can be very hard to breathe freely in this position if your sinuses are blocked. And let's face it, a constantly dripping nose is also rather unpleasant!

Spreading the infection to others
When you receive a massage while in a decreased state of immunity, you not only take the risk of feeling worse yourself, but you also risk passing your infection on to your massage therapist. Some people can work while under the weather but massage therapists cannot and should not. So by rescheduling your session. your therapist will thank you, and be waiting for your speedy recovery!

If you are suffering from: flu, have a fever or feel nauseous, have a bad cold, sinus infection, a runny nose or just feel horribly bunged up,  my advice is simple - reschedule your massage, stay home, rest, stay warm, watch Star Wars*, drink plenty of fluids, eat trifle* and sleep lots so your body can heal itself! You will get over your virus much quicker this way.

The good news
Once you are over the worst of your virus, usually about a week after it has started, massage can be a wonderful way to improve the function of your immune system, restore lost energy and give something back to your body. Hot stones are wonderful in this respect, because of the nurturing quality of their heat.

*The watching of Star Wars and the eating of trifle are optional, but I feel that when you are ill you need to be kind to yourself and part of the kindness may well involve some TV watching and indulging in a good pudding.

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Claire Feldkamp

Claire Feldkamp MTI CNHC is on a mission to help people bring balance to their lives. She is passionate about yoga as a tool for self-enquiry, and believes that it has something to offer everyone. Her instruction blends together a deep appreciation of alignment with a fundamental love of movement. An avid rock climber, mountaineer, runner, hungry learner, anatomy nerd and archaeologist, Claire applies her adventurous experiences of life to her teachings, making classes accessible, fun and deeply inspiring. Claire loves to enable others to listen and respond to their bodies, and does so by blending together bodywork, yoga, mediation and mindfulness.