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What to Do When You Experience Side Effects After a Massage

Written by Chris Corrales

April 24, 2023

Massage therapy is a popular form of relaxation and stress relief that has been used for centuries to promote physical and mental well-being. However, like any other medical or therapeutic intervention, massage therapy may sometimes come with side effects. If you experience side effects after a massage, it’s essential to know what to do and how to handle them to ensure your safety and well-being. In this article, we will discuss some common side effects of massage and what steps you can take if you experience them.

What are the Common Side Effects of Massage?

Massage therapy involves the manipulation of muscles, tissues, and joints, which can sometimes result in side effects. While most side effects are mild and temporary, it’s important to be aware of them and know what to do if they occur. Some common side effects of massage may include:

Muscle soreness

Even though people often feel muscle soreness after a deep tissue massage, this is usually a sign of positive progress. That soreness comes from the muscles being worked effectively by the massage and releasing tension built up within them. This can be particularly true for any areas around joints—knees, elbows, or shoulders—that may have been causing pain as a result of restricted movement over time. With regular massage therapy, the tension in these areas gradually dissipates, leading to less joint pain and improved mobility, even if it means feeling some muscle soreness afterward.


Although massage can be incredibly beneficial, occasionally it may result in mild bruising. This is usually due to strong techniques or excessive pressure being used on the area. Fortunately, most bruising will clear up on its own over time but if you notice the bruising is more severe or if you have a bleeding disorder, it’s important to seek advice from a doctor as soon as possible. With proper attention and care, potential bruises can be easily avoided and everyone will reap the benefits of a good massage!


When looking for relaxation, massage therapy is an option that can help to improve mood and reduce fatigue. It is beneficial for several reasons, such as improved flexibility, increased circulation, and the release of endorphins. This release can trigger an immensely pleasing feeling known as the relaxation response which helps to reduce stress and rejuvenate the body. However, it’s not uncommon to feel mild exhaustion that can settle in after a session. This temporary fatigue is usually nothing to worry about and may be attributed to muscle relaxation in addition to the endorphins released during a massage.


It’s not uncommon to experience a headache after a massage, especially if the neck or head was worked on extensively. Rather than being a cause for alarm, this usually indicates that the massage has had some effect. The change in blood flow, muscle tension, and other factors can all lead to headaches in some cases. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to relieve the discomfort. Drinking plenty of water and resting will help to reduce symptoms, while heat or cold therapy may be helpful depending on your preference. If the headache doesn’t subside over time, then it’s important to speak with your doctor for further advice.


In rare cases, massage can cause nausea. This is usually due to a change in blood pressure or the release of toxins during the session that your body may have trouble processing. If you experience any kind of nausea after a massage, it’s important to rest and drink fluids until you feel better. Taking an anti-nausea medication may also be recommended if the symptoms persist.

Emotional reactions

Massage therapy can also have a profound psychological effect. People often report feeling a wide range of emotions during or after a massage, such as sadness, anger, joy, and even nostalgia. These reactions are normal and can often be attributed to the relaxation response in addition to the release of endorphins. It’s important to recognize these feelings and address them appropriately if necessary. Taking deep breaths and talking about any feelings that come up can help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

In general, massage therapy has many potential side effects, but these are usually mild and short-term. Understanding the various reactions that may occur can help you to better manage them and maximize the benefits of your sessions. With proper care and attention, everyone can enjoy the many positive effects of massage therapy.

What Should You Do If You Experience Side Effects After a Massage?

If you experience side effects after a massage, here are some steps you can take to manage them effectively:

Communicate with your therapist

If you notice any unusual or uncomfortable sensations during the massage, it’s crucial to communicate with your therapist. They can adjust their techniques or pressure to ensure your comfort and safety. If you experience side effects after the massage, let your therapist know during your next appointment or through a phone call or email. They can provide you with guidance and advice on how to manage the side effects.

Rest and hydrate

If you feel fatigued or experience muscle soreness after a massage, it’s important to rest and drink plenty of water. Resting allows your body to recover and heal while staying hydrated helps to flush out toxins from your system and replenish lost fluids. Avoid strenuous activities or exercises for the first 24 hours after a massage to give your body the time it needs to recover.

Use heat or cold therapy

Applying heat or cold therapy can help to alleviate muscle soreness, bruising, or headaches after a massage. You can use a heating pad or a warm towel on the affected area to increase blood flow and reduce tension. Cold therapy can be used to reduce inflammation and bruising. Be sure to wrap the cold source in a towel before applying it to the skin.

Consult a doctor

If you experience severe side effects after a massage, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider. They can provide further insights into the cause of the side effects and recommend appropriate treatments or medications if necessary.

Overall, it’s normal to feel some minor side effects after a massage, such as soreness or fatigue. However, if you experience persistent or severe side effects after a massage, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider for advice and treatment. By communicating with your therapist and taking the appropriate steps to manage the symptoms, you can ensure that your massage sessions are safe and enjoyable.

Our Expert’s Take

Thus, it is evident that the side effects of a massage can be diverse and can range from light fatigue and bruising to more severe reactions such as nausea. However, it’s always a good idea to check in with your massage therapist so you know what treatments may be best for you. If possible, consult medical professionals who are familiar with massages to ensure you get the safest care possible. Furthermore, by communicating any concerns you have before getting a massage or focusing on rest and hydration when feeling pain or fatigue after one, many negative side effects can be avoided. Here’s our expert’s take on this: act fast and stay informed about precautions for post-massage side effects in order to reduce any potential harm.

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