Can Massage Cure Cold or Flu?

woman sick with flu laying in bed

So often, during this time of a year, clients ask me if massage therapy can cure or help them recover faster from a cold or flu.

The answer is – NO.

As a matter of fact, receiving massage while your body is fighting off a cold or flu may worsen your condition.

I know you are suffering! The congestion in your chest is unbearable; the force caused by coughing and seizing makes your muscles tight and sore. Additionally, the flu-related pain in your muscles and joints make you feel exhausted and cranky. While you’re desperate to get some relief from your symptoms, massage therapy isn’t the way to go.

Massage therapists are not trained to diagnose, treat or cure any illnesses, and we have no ability to correctly assess your condition. Your best bet is to go see your medical doctor and follow their instructions. They can properly diagnose you, and ensure you are not developing any secondary upper respiratory system problems. You may need medication that will help you boost your immune system and fight the symptoms efficiently.

Let’s try to remember that both, common colds and the flu are highly contagious during their early stage of incubation and walking around sick is going to spread the virus. Therefore, when you first notice symptoms of illness, call and reschedule your massage, your therapist will be grateful.

Massage & Your Body Image

massage for shoulder painMany times when I tell people that I’m a massage therapist it’s met with body language shifts and protective posturing. Many verbally communicate their dislike or hesitation toward any type of bodywork, even though they have never received one.

Body image is such an issue that many people will forgo a massage rather than feel amazing – all because of body image.

The paradox here is that it’s not true; massage can actually help with body image issues.

I remember when I was in massage school and we had our first hands-on class; we were nervous about taking off our clothes and allowing our classmates to touch our bodies. However, several massages later we were more at ease, and several weeks later, when our skills improved, we let go of our concerns and enjoyed our massages. We also discovered that bodies are just bodies.

Practicing massage therapy for over sixteen years has given me the opportunity to witness a phenomenon:

When our bodies feel better, we feel better about our bodies!

 So, when considering to massage or not, remember these bits of sage advice:

  1. Do nothing, don’t get a massage, don’t risk vulnerability. It’s easy, it involves doing nothing. The risk is low since you are not letting another person see or touch you at all. The results of it are equal zero; you are still stressed, perhaps in pain, insecure, and at war with your body.
  1. Your massage therapist should always make sure you feel comfortable. And no, you don’t need to strip nude to receive rewarding bodywork.
  1. When you get a massage, a great one, and the therapist is sensitive and attuned to your needs, you’ll feel respected and then you’ll begin to let your guard down.

Through the years of my career as a massage therapist I have seen and touched hundreds, perhaps thousands of people; slim, voluptuous, young, old, healthy and those who deal with various health issues. We’ve seen it all! And truth be told, for us it’s about what’s going on inside not out.

Whatever your life story, a massage therapist is meant to help you heal. So, stop avoiding massage because you feel uncomfortable about your body, and talk with your therapist about finding a healing option that works for you.

Besides, massage is meant to help you feel better, by reducing stress, control or eliminate pain, or assist in recovery from injury or illness. Don’t let your body image keep you from feeling good!