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Massage, Benefits and Dangers

Updated on March 1, 2013

Health Benefits of Getting A Massage

Love massage, but feel you can't afford one as often as you'd like?

Massage is Cumulative

The bottom line is that though massage is also a luxurious treat, it is a key investment in your health!  These are just some of the conditions that massage will help and a few of the scientific studies that indicate the true facts of its benefits.  Massage therapy is an accepted part of many physical therapy rehabilitation programs and has cumulative effects on the human body when utilized regularly. 

According to a study released February, 2007, it was found that when clearly considered, the price of a massage might not be as much as you first think.  Massage is an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs.  One or two of the many research studies conducted, find massage beneficial in maintaining health. 

Some Cumulative Benefits of Massage Include:

  • Overall, general relaxation;
  • Feeling of well-being;
  • Enhances mood;
  • Improves circulation,
  • Helps lower blood pressure;
  • Improves muscle function;
  • Improves lymphatic flow;
  • Naturally boosts immunity;
  • Improves nervous system function;
  • Removes lactic acid and other cellular wastes.

More Cumulative Benefits:

  • Reduces some types of edema, or swelling;
  • Reduces scar tissue and adhesions;
  • Detoxifies the body;
  • Helps the body to self-correct structural issues;
  • Relieves pain;
  • Benefits chronic ailments like low back pain, neck pain;

I got a massage every week while I was using natural remedies to fight my Hepatitis C and Liver Cirrhosis. I don't think I'd be here today if I hadn't become a massage therapist so I could trade a massage every week.

You will look and feel better with a regular massage!

More accrued benefits:

  •  Increases blood and lymph fluid circulation preventing stagnation of fluids in the body;
  •  improving absorption of nutrients and fluid flow within the body;
  •  Increased Range of Motion;
  •  Enhanced flexibility;
  •  Increased relief from stress;
  •  Lubricates joints;
  •  Facilitates the ending of the "Spasm & Pain" cycle;
  •  Flush toxins out of the body;
  •  Improves the immune response;
  •  Stimulates the release of endorphins and serotonin;
  •  Relieves fatigue.


NOTE: Do not get a massage without your doctor's written permission if you have a serious illness / disease!

Risks involved in massage therapy are minimal compared to other more invasive medical treatments and the side effects we experience from medication.

The following are contraindications to getting a massage:

» Avoid massage if you have

  • a bleeding disorder;
  • low blood platelet counts; or
  • if you are taking blood thinner medication such as Warfarin

» Avoid massage in any area where there are

  • blood clots,
  • fractures,
  • open or healing wounds,
  • · skin infections, or
  • weakened bones (such as from osteoporosis or cancer) or where there has beenrecent surgery.

Informed therapists know to perform massage

  • with CAUTION in any of the warranted circumstances and
  • ONLY with a physician’s written note, when necessary!

Healthy Heart
Healthy Heart

ALWAYS tell your therapist if you have any health issues:

  • Although massage therapy appears safe for cancer patients, before having a massage involving deep or intense pressure, you should consult your oncologist.
  • Avoid direct pressure over a tumor and discuss any concerns regarding the tumor and massage with your health care provider,
  • Avoid areas of recent medication injection,
  • Heart condition--if you can easily walk up a flight of stairs carrying a light bag of groceries you can get a massage. Otherwise, no massage

NOTE: Bring your doctor’s written permission to the therapist if you have a serious illness / disease!

A therapist can help only if they know.

Contraindications, continued


—massage can further irritate an area of inflammation. If you have any disease ending in “itis”, such as phlebitis (inflammation of a vein), arthritis (inflammation of the joints), or extreme dermatitis (inflammation of the skin). If there are localized problems, massage can safely be done around the area of inflammation. Talk to your therapist.

High blood pressure even if under the control of a medication

—means excessive blood pressure against blood vessel walls. Massage affects the blood vessels, so people with high blood pressure should consult their health care professional prior to getting a massage. Talk to your therapist.

Infectious Diseases / Fever / Cold

—when you have a fever, your body is trying to isolate and expel an invader. Since massage increases overall circulation it is not a good idea to get a massage when you have a fever or a cold.


—Hernias are protrusions of part of an organ (such as the intestines) through a muscular wall.  It is not a good idea to push these organs back inside.


—elderly people with a severe stoop to the shoulders often have this condition, in which bones become porous, brittle, and fragile.  Massage may be too intense for this condition.  You may want to consider energy massage treatments.

Varicose veins

—massaging directly over varicose veins can exacerbate the problem.  However, if very light massage is performed next to the problem, in the direction of the heart, it can be very beneficial in relieving the problem.

Broken bones

—You may still receive a massage, but let your massage therapist know to stay away from the area of mending bones.

Skin problems

—a therapist can work around minor skin irritations without affecting the area of skin having the dermatitis.  However, if a large area of skin is affected, massage should be avoided.

Lymphatic Cancer

—cancer can spread through the lymphatic system, and because massage increases the flow of lymphatic fluid, it could potentially spread the disease as well. Caring touch/energy massage is fine, but massage strokes stimulating circulation to the heart should be avoided. Always check with your physician first.

This is a picture of general inflammation of an infection and IS NOT related to HIV or AIDS
This is a picture of general inflammation of an infection and IS NOT related to HIV or AIDS

HIV infection

—although AIDS and HIV cannot be “caught” through simple skin-to-skin contact, some people fear contact with victims of this horrible disease.  If there is no exchange of bodily fluids, HIV cannot be transmitted during massage. 

HIV is not the contraindication, rather it is the infection that attacks the individual during the later stages of the disease that cause a contraindication to massage.  Loving, soothing contact is extremely important for people at any stage of infection, but in the case of any visible rashes, sores, lesions, or swelling, massage is best avoided. 

For the massage therapist, it’s an especially good idea to wear thin surgical gloves while massaging an HIV-infected person with any signs of open lesions.

Pregnancy is not a contraindication

However, special training is involved for the massage therapist.  There are certain points that can cause problems is the therapist is not thoroughly trained.  

Pregnant women should consult their health care provider before using massage therapy.  If the provider approves, find a therapist who has been specifically trained in pregnancy massage.

As a massage therapist the first and foremost rule is “Do no harm.” 

If you are not sure about a particular condition, don’t give the massage!


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    • Wise_Man_S profile image

      Wise_Man_S 3 years ago from Texas

      So sorry I haven't gotten back to you about this or if you even need it now. But claudication in his legs indicates vein obstruction, so massage might acerbate this problem. I would not get a circulatory massage...however, a very light massage using a LOT of lotion and just rubbing on top of the skin would be OK -- they call this Oncology Massage because it is a massage that does not increase circulation and can be used when a person is experiencing cancer.

    • profile image

      clair 5 years ago

      husband has claudication in his legs....wondering if massage would be dangerous.

    • restrelax profile image

      restrelax 6 years ago from Los angeles CA

      Massage provide many benefits to our body .I am really glad to read this hub.