Can Massage Cause A Fever?

Have you ever wondered, can a massage cause a fever? It’s a question that might seem unusual at first, but when you consider the powerful effects massage can have on the body, it starts to make a lot more sense.

In this article, we’re going to dive deep into this topic, exploring the relationship between massage and our body’s temperature response.

Key Facts

  • Massage can have profound effects on the body, including influencing our internal temperature.
  • A fever after a massage is not common, but it’s not impossible.
  • Certain types of intense, deep tissue massage could potentially trigger a fever-like response.
  • If you’re already feeling unwell or have a high temperature, it’s generally advised to avoid getting a massage.
  • Always listen to your body and seek professional advice if you feel unwell after a massage.

Like any therapy, massage has a significant impact on the body, it’s essential to understand its potential effects fully.

So, buckle up as we embark on this journey of discovery, where we’ll unravel the mysteries of massage and its potential link to fever. Let’s get started!

Understanding Massage and Its Effects

Massage therapy is more than just a relaxing indulgence

But what exactly happens when you get a massage? Let’s break it down.

The Power of Touch

At its core, massage is all about the power of touch.

A skilled massage therapist uses their hands to manipulate the muscles and soft tissues in your body. 

This can help to:

  • Relieve muscle tension and pain
  • Improve circulation
  • Promote relaxation
  • Boost your mood

Different Strokes for Different Folks

There are many different types of massage, each with its own techniques and benefits.

  • Swedish Massage: Known for its long, flowing strokes, this type of massage is great for relaxation and stress relief.
  • Deep Tissue Massage: As the name suggests, this massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. It’s often used for chronic aches and pain.
  • Sports Massage: Designed for athletes, this type of massage focuses on the muscles used in your specific sport. It can be used for injury prevention, treatment, and to enhance performance.
  • Trigger Point Massage: This type of massage focuses on specific “trigger points” in your muscles that may be causing pain in other parts of your body.

The Body’s Response To Massage

When you get a massage, your body responds in several ways: 

  1. Your heart rate and blood pressure may decrease,
  2. your muscles relax,
  3. and your body releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
  4. Massage can also stimulate the lymphatic system, which plays a key role in your body’s immune response.
Massage illustration

In the next section, we’ll delve into the specific question at hand: Can massage cause a fever? 

Can Massage Cause Fever?

Now that we’ve explored what massage is and how it affects the body, let’s tackle the question head-on: Can massage cause a fever? The answer is not as straightforward as you might think.

When Your Body Has a ‘Healing Crisis’

Massage, particularly deep tissue massage, can sometimes cause what’s known as a “healing crisis.”

This is when the body responds to the healing stimulation of the massage by releasing stored toxins.

These toxins can then trigger a response similar to that of a mild fever as the body works to eliminate them. Symptoms can include:

  • Mild increase in body temperature
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

Not a Common Occurrence

It’s important to note that this reaction is not common. Most people will not experience a fever or fever-like symptoms after a massage. However, those who do should rest and hydrate to help the body flush out the toxins.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you experience a high fever (over 100.4°F or 38°C), severe headache, or other concerning symptoms after a massage, it’s important to seek medical attention.

These could be signs of a more serious condition that needs immediate treatment.

woman with fever after massage illustration

The Bottom Line

So, can a massage cause a fever? While it’s possible for a massage to trigger a fever-like response in the body, it’s not a common occurrence and is usually a sign that the body is working to eliminate toxins.

Of course, as always, it’s important to listen to your body and seek medical advice if you’re feeling unwell after a massage.

In the next section, we’ll discuss when massage should be avoided and why. 

When Should Massage Be Avoided?

While massage can be a fantastic tool for relaxation and healing, there are certain situations where it might be best to postpone your session. Let’s explore some of these scenarios.

Existing Fever

If you’re already running a fever, it’s generally recommended to avoid getting a massage. A fever is a sign that your body is fighting off an infection or illness.

Adding a massage into the mix could potentially stress your system further, making it harder for your body to recover.

Infectious Diseases

Massage should also be avoided if you have an infectious disease, including the common cold or flu. Not only could a massage make your symptoms worse, but you also run the risk of spreading the infection to your massage therapist and others.

Certain Medical Conditions

There are also certain medical conditions where massage might not be recommended, or a modified approach might be needed.

These can include:

  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Recent surgery or injury
  • Certain skin conditions
  • Certain types of cancer

Always Consult a Professional

If you’re unsure whether you should get a massage, it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide advice based on your specific situation and health history.

In the next section, we’ll delve into why you might feel worse after a massage and what to do about it. 

Why Might You Feel Worse After a Massage?

After a soothing massage, you’d expect to feel relaxed and rejuvenated, right? But sometimes, you might feel a bit under the weather instead. Let’s explore why that happens and what you can do about it.

Post-Massage Soreness and Malaise

It’s not uncommon to feel a bit sore after a massage, especially if it’s been a while since your last session or if you’ve had a deep tissue massage.

This is known as post-massage soreness and malaise (PMSM).

PMSM Symptoms can include:

  • Muscle soreness or stiffness
  • Mild swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Mild discomfort

Why Does PMSM Happen?

PMSM is thought to occur due to the pressure applied during a massage, which can cause inflammation and tiny injuries in the muscle fibers. This is similar to what happens when you do a strenuous workout.

Your body responds to these tiny injuries by increasing blood flow to the area, which can result in soreness and inflammation.

Managing PMSM

Here are some tips to manage PMSM:

  • Hydrate: Drink plenty of water after your massage to help flush out any toxins released during the session.
  • Rest: Give your body time to recover. Avoid strenuous activities for the rest of the day.
  • Heat: Apply a warm compress to sore areas to help reduce inflammation and soothe discomfort.

When to Seek Help

If your symptoms are severe, last for more than a couple of days, or if you feel unwell in any other way, it’s important to seek medical attention. While PMSM is usually harmless, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

In the next section, we’ll discuss the potential risks and side effects of massage. 

Potential Risks and Side Effects of Massage

While massage is generally safe and beneficial, it’s important to be aware of potential risks and side effects. Let’s take a closer look at what these might be.

Common Side Effects

Most side effects of massage are mild and temporary – but can include:

  • Temporary soreness or discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Potential Risks

In rare cases, massage can lead to more serious complications.

These can include:

  • Injuries: While rare, it’s possible to sustain an injury from a massage, especially if it’s too vigorous or if the therapist is not properly trained.
  • Allergic reactions: Some people might have allergic reactions to oils, lotions, or other products used during the massage.
  • Underlying health conditions: People with certain health conditions, such as blood clots or osteoporosis, may be at higher risk of complications from massage.

Mitigating Risks

Here are some tips to help mitigate these risks:

  • Choose a qualified therapist: Always go to a certified and experienced massage therapist. They should have a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology and be able to adapt the massage to your individual needs.
  • Communicate: Don’t hesitate to speak up if something doesn’t feel right during your massage. A good therapist will welcome your feedback and adjust their technique accordingly.
  • Disclose your health history: Be sure to tell your therapist about any health conditions or concerns you have. This will help them provide the safest and most effective massage for you.

In the next section, we’ll discuss what to do if you feel sick after a massage. Stay tuned for more practical advice.

What to Do If You Feel Sick After a Massage

Feeling sick after a massage treatment can be a disconcerting experience. You might be wondering, “Why am I coming down with a cold or feeling nauseous after what was supposed to be a relaxing experience?”

Let’s explore why this might happen and what you can do about it.

Understanding the “Toxins” Myth

As we’ve already discussed, you might hear that massage stimulates the release of “toxins” from your muscle tissue, causing you to feel sick. 

However, it’s important to clarify what we mean by “toxins.”

In this context, we’re typically referring to metabolic waste products like lactic acid that can build up in the muscles.

The Role of Massage and Hydration

Massage stimulates circulation, which can help to flush these waste products out of your muscles and into your bloodstream. From there, they can be processed by your kidneys and eliminated in your urine.

This is why you might often hear the advice to drink a lot of water after a massage.

Staying hydrated helps your kidneys to process these waste products more efficiently and can prevent feelings of nausea or dehydration.

The Connection with Your Immune System

Another factor to consider is that massage stimulates lymphatic drainage, which is a key part of your immune system.

Your lymphatic system circulates nutrients and oxygen to your cells and helps to remove waste products. It also plays a role in defending your body against viruses and bacteria.

After a massage, especially a deep, remedial massage, your lymphatic system can go into overdrive, which might cause a slightly toxic situation in your body. This can sometimes result in symptoms similar to those of a mild cold in the days following your massage.

Managing Post-Massage Symptoms

If you’re feeling sore or sick after a massage, here are some steps you can take:

  • Hydrate: Drink plenty of water to help your body flush out waste products.
  • Rest: Give your body time to recover. You might find that your symptoms subside after a good night’s sleep.
  • Consult a professional: If your symptoms persist or are severe, consult a healthcare professional or your licensed massage therapist.

The Benefits of Regular Massage

Despite these potential side effects, regular massage is still a valuable tool for managing chronic pain and promoting overall wellness.

Many massage clients find that the benefits, such as improved circulation, pain relief, and relaxation, far outweigh the temporary discomfort they might experience.

“Give your body a little love, it deserves it.”

Preventing Discomfort After a Massage

While it’s not uncommon to feel a bit off after a massage, there are steps you can take to minimize discomfort and make the most of your massage treatment. Let’s delve into some preventative measures you can take.

Pre-Massage Preparation

How you prepare for your massage can have a significant impact on how you feel afterwards. Here are some tips:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before your appointment. This can help your muscles respond better to the massage and reduce the risk of dehydration afterwards.
  • Avoid Heavy Meals: Try not to eat a heavy meal right before your massage. A full stomach can make you feel uncomfortable during your session.
  • Arrive Relaxed: Try to arrive for your appointment in a relaxed state. This can help your muscles loosen up more easily and make the massage more effective.

During the Massage

Communication with your massage therapist is key during your session. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Speak Up: If you’re feeling discomfort during your massage, let your therapist know. They can adjust their technique or pressure to make you more comfortable.
  • Breathe: Remember to breathe deeply and regularly during your massage. This can help you relax and can aid in the release of tension from your muscles.

Post-Massage Care

Taking care of yourself after your massage is just as important as the preparation.

Here are some post-massage care tips:

  • Hydrate, Again: Continue to drink water after your massage to help flush out any released toxins and to rehydrate your muscles.
  • Rest: If possible, try to rest or take it easy after your massage. This gives your body a chance to recover and can help prevent feelings of fatigue or malaise.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body feels after the massage. If you notice any concerning symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice.

In the next section, we’ll wrap up with some final thoughts on massage and its potential effects on the body.


So what have we learnt? Well, navigating the world of massage therapy can be a journey filled with relaxation and occasional flu-like symptoms. It’s a delicate balance of understanding your body’s responses and knowing when to schedule your next massage session.

During a massage, your therapist works to release knots and tension in your muscles, promoting better blood flow and lymphatic drainage throughout the body.

This process can sometimes lead to you feeling sick after a massage, as “toxins” or metabolic by-products, like lactic acid, are released from your muscles into your bloodstream.

While this might cause temporary muscle pain or flu-like symptoms, drinking plenty of water can help your liver and kidneys process these by-products more efficiently. You might find yourself feeling thirsty after a massage, a sign that your body is working hard to rehydrate and recover.

Getting sick after a massage is not the norm, but it’s important to listen to your body. If you’re experiencing severe or immediate pain, or if your symptoms persist for more than a few days, it’s crucial to seek medical advice.

Remember, massage is a form of physical stress, albeit a beneficial one. Just like intense exercise, it can increase blood volume and pressure, and may expose your body to allergens if oils or lotions are used.

However, the benefits of massage, such as relief from sore muscles and improved circulation, often outweigh these temporary discomforts. Rather than giving up on massage entirely, consider adjusting the intensity or duration of your sessions.

A one-hour deep tissue massage might be too much for some, while others might benefit from more frequent, shorter sessions.

At the end of the day, the goal of any massage should be to make you feel better, not worse.

If you’re feeling unsure or have questions about what you can expect from a massage, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional. 

Many therapists offer a free, no-obligation phone consultation to find out what type of massage might be best for you.

So, don’t let the fear of feeling sick after a massage keep you from experiencing its many benefits.

With the right approach and a little bit of knowledge, you can enjoy your massages without risking discomfort.


  1. 13 Instances When Massage Should Be Avoided: An article discussing when massage should be avoided, including when a client has a fever.
  2. Why Does My Body Feel Worse After a Massage? – Cleveland Clinic: A Q&A with a massage therapist from the Cleveland Clinic discussing why the body might feel sore after a massage.
  3. What Could Possibly Go Wrong With Massage? – An article discussing the potential side effects and risks of massage therapy, particularly deep tissue massage.
  4. Feeling Sick After a Massage? That’s Not Uncommon – Here’s Why – Yahoo: An article discussing why some people might feel sick after a massage.
  5. Why Do I Feel Sick After a Massage? | POPSUGAR Beauty: An article discussing the potential causes of feeling sick after a massage, including dehydration and the draining of the lymphatic system.

Q: Can deep tissue massage cause a fever?

A: Deep tissue massage doesn’t usually cause a fever. Fever is typically caused by an infection or illness, but some clients report feeling fever like symptoms after a massage.

Q: Can I get sick after a massage?

A: It is rare to get sick after a massage. However, some people may experience flu-like symptoms or feel under the weather temporarily after a massage due to the body’s reaction to the release of toxins or increased circulation.

A: Yes, there are several related posts that discuss the connection between massage and sickness. You can find them on our website or by doing a quick search online.

Q: What are the flu-like symptoms that can occur after a massage?

A: Flu-like symptoms after a massage can include fatigue, headache, muscle soreness, and mild fever. These symptoms are usually temporary and should resolve on their own.

Q: What is a flush in massage?

A: A flush is a technique used in massage to help promote the circulation of blood and lymph. It involves long, sweeping strokes towards the heart to assist with the removal of toxins and waste from the body.

Q: How long does a massage session usually last?

A: The duration of a massage session depends on the individual’s needs and preferences. It can range from 30 minutes to 2 hours, with 60 minutes being the most common duration.

Q: Can massage treatment affect the kidneys?

A: Massage treatments do not directly affect the kidneys. However, certain massage techniques may increase blood flow and circulation, which can indirectly benefit the kidneys by helping them function more efficiently.

Q: What is PMSM in relation to massage?

A: PMSM stands for Post-Massage Soreness and Malaise. It refers to the temporary muscle soreness and fatigue that some individuals may experience after a massage. It is a normal response to the manipulation of muscle tissue during a massage session.

Q: Can dehydration occur after a massage?

A: Dehydration is unlikely to occur after a massage, but it is important to stay hydrated before and after a massage to aid in the removal of toxins and promote overall well-being.

Q: How does massage help with muscle tissue?

A: Massage helps to improve muscle tissue by increasing circulation, reducing muscle tension, and promoting relaxation. It can help relieve muscle pain, improve flexibility, and enhance overall muscle function.