How Long Will I Feel Sick After Massage?

Have you ever felt a bit under the weather after a rejuvenating massage session? If so, you’re not alone.

Many people experience a range of symptoms, from mild discomfort to feeling downright sick after a massage. But why does this happen, and more importantly, how long does it last? 

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the reasons behind post-massage sickness and provide you with practical tips to manage and prevent it.

Key Facts

  • Feeling sick after a massage is not uncommon, but it’s usually temporary.
  • The sickness can be due to the body’s immune response, dehydration, or postural hypotension.
  • Typically, post-massage discomfort lasts a few hours to about a day and a half.
  • Staying hydrated, eating a light meal before the massage, and resting afterwards can help manage and prevent post-massage sickness.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the massage experience, why it sometimes leaves you feeling less than stellar, and what you can do about it. 

Understanding the Massage Experience

A massage is more than just a luxury—it’s a powerful tool that can help you take charge of your health and well-being.

But to fully appreciate its benefits, it’s important to understand what happens during a massage session.

Massage - illustration

The Magic Behind the Massage

During a massage, a therapist applies various types of pressure to your muscles and joints. This can range from light stroking to deep pressure, depending on the type of massage you’re receiving. Here are a few common types:

  • Swedish massage: This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration, and tapping to help relax and energize you.
  • Deep tissue massage: This technique uses slower, more forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. It’s commonly used to help with muscle damage from injuries.
  • Sports massage: Similar to a deep massage, this is geared toward people involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
  • Trigger point massage: This focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.

The After-Effects: More Than Just Relaxation

While many people feel relaxed and energized after a massage, some experience an unexpected side effect: feeling sick. This can manifest as nausea, headache, or muscle soreness.

But why does this happen? Let’s explore this in the next section.

Why You Might Feel Sick After a Massage

Now that we’ve covered what a massage entails, let’s delve into why it might leave you feeling a bit off.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s body responds differently to massage, and what one person experiences may not be the same for another.

woman feeling sick - illustration

Here are some common reasons why you might feel sick after a massage:

The Body’s Response

  • Immune System Activation: Massage can stimulate the immune system, leading to an increase in white blood cells. This immune response can sometimes result in feelings of nausea or general malaise.
  • Release of Toxins: Massage can help release toxins stored in the body, which are then eliminated through the circulatory and lymphatic systems. This sudden release can occasionally cause feelings of sickness.
  • Postural Hypotension: This refers to a sudden drop in blood pressure when you get up from a lying or sitting position, which can cause dizziness or faintness. It’s not uncommon after a massage, especially if you stand up quickly.
  • Dehydration: Massage can dehydrate the body. If you’re not adequately hydrated before or after your session, you may experience symptoms like dry mouth, thirst, and even nausea.

Massage Guns and Flu-Like Symptoms: What You Need to Know

A massage, whether it’s a traditional hands-on session or one using a massage gun, is generally a relaxing experience.

However, it’s not uncommon for some people to feel sick, experiencing flu-like symptoms after getting a massage. 

You might feel dizzy, nauseous, or just generally icky. But why does a massage make you feel sick? Let’s explore the possible reasons.

Massage and Metabolic Waste

One of the main reasons why you feel sick after a massage is due to the release of metabolic waste.

When a massage stimulates your soft tissue, toxins are released from the muscle tissue into the bloodstream.

These toxins, which can include lactic acid and other metabolic waste, are usually flushed out by your body’s lymphatic system. However, if the waste isn’t eliminated quickly enough, it can make you feel nauseous or dizzy.

Deep-Tissue Massage and Immune Response

Deep-tissue massage, in particular, can cause flu-like symptoms. This type of massage involves applying firm pressure and slow strokes to reach deeper layers of muscle and fascia.

The intense pressure can cause microtrauma to the muscle tissues, triggering an immune response. This response can lead to the release of viruses and bacteria, which can result in feeling sick.

Massage Oil Sensitivity

Another possible reason why you feel sick after getting a massage could be a sensitivity or allergic reaction to the massage oil used. Some people might experience nausea after a massage if they have a sensitivity to certain oils.

Massage oil

Massage Soreness

Just like after a good workout, you might experience some muscle soreness after a massage.

This is especially true for deep tissue or sports massages.

The pressure applied during these types of massages can result in micro-tears in the muscle fibers, leading to an inflammatory response, which can cause discomfort and stiffness.

While these reactions might be unpleasant, they’re typically short-lived.

But how long do they last? Let’s find out in the next section.

How Long Does the Post Massage Sickness Last?

After understanding why you might feel sick after a massage, the next logical question is, “How long will this last?”

This can depend on a number of different things, including the type of massage, your overall health, and how you care for yourself after the session.

hourglass - illustration

The Typical Timeline

Generally, any discomfort or feelings of sickness should subside within a few hours to a day and a half.

Here’s a rough timeline:

  • Immediate to a few hours post-massage: You might feel light-headed or dizzy immediately after the massage, especially if you get up too quickly. This should pass within a few minutes. Some people might also experience nausea or headache, which usually subsides within a few hours.
  • 24 to 36 hours post-massage: Muscle soreness or body aches are common during this period, especially after a deep tissue or sports massage. This is similar to what you might experience after a rigorous workout.
  • Beyond 36 hours: If you’re still feeling sick or sore beyond this period, it might be a sign that something else is going on. It’s important to listen to your body and seek medical attention if needed.

Remember, everyone’s body responds differently to massage.

What’s most important is to listen to your body and give it the care it needs.

In the next section, we’ll discuss some strategies to prevent and manage post-massage sickness.

Preventing and Managing Post-Massage Sickness

Feeling sick after a massage isn’t a pleasant experience, but the good news is that there are several strategies you can employ to prevent and manage these symptoms. Here’s what you can do:

Before Your Massage

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink lots of water before your massage to help your body handle the physical manipulation and toxin release.
  • Eat Light: Having a light meal a couple of hours before your massage can prevent feelings of nausea or dizziness.

After Your Massage

  • Rehydrate: Replenish your body’s water supply after your massage to help flush out any released toxins and prevent dehydration.
  • Rest: Give your body time to recover and adjust after the massage. Avoid strenuous activities for the rest of the day.
  • Heat or Cold Therapy: If you’re experiencing muscle soreness, applying a warm compress can help soothe the discomfort. For inflammation or swelling, a cold compress can be beneficial.

Remember, these are general guidelines and may not work for everyone.

If you’re still feeling unwell after trying these strategies, it might be time to seek medical attention.

Let’s discuss when that might be necessary in the next section.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While it’s normal to feel a bit off after a massage, there are instances when it’s important to seek medical attention. Listening to your body and recognizing when something isn’t right is crucial.

Potential Side Effects of MassageTypical OnsetTypical DurationPrevention/Management
Dizziness/Light-headednessImmediately after massageFew minutesGet up slowly
NauseaImmediately to a few hours after massageFew hoursStay hydrated, eat light
HeadacheImmediately to a few hours after massageFew hours to a dayStay hydrated, rest
Muscle Soreness24 to 36 hours after massageUp to 36 hoursHeat or cold therapy, rest
Severe Symptoms (Intense pain, extreme dizziness, vomiting)VariesVariesSeek medical attention immediately

Here’s when you should consider reaching out to a healthcare professional (this is just our opinion – always follow your own instincts):

  • Persistent Symptoms: If your symptoms—such as nausea, dizziness, or muscle soreness—persist beyond 36 hours, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor.
  • Severe Symptoms: If you experience severe symptoms like intense pain, extreme dizziness, or vomiting, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Underlying Health Conditions: If you have a pre-existing health condition and you’re feeling unwell after a massage, it’s always safer to consult your doctor.
  • New Symptoms: If you develop new symptoms that you haven’t experienced before after a massage, it’s worth getting them checked out.

Remember, a massage is meant to help you relax and feel better, not worse. If you’re ever in doubt about your post-massage symptoms, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and seek medical advice.

In the end, massages are a wonderful tool for relaxation and wellness.

By understanding how your body might react and how to care for yourself afterwards, you can ensure a more enjoyable and beneficial massage experience.


Feeling sick after a massage can be an unexpected and unpleasant surprise, but it’s usually a temporary condition that can be managed effectively.

By understanding why it happens and how to prevent and handle it, you can ensure a more enjoyable and beneficial massage experience.

To recap, here are the key takeaways:

  • Understand the Massage: Knowing what happens during a massage can help you better understand your body’s reactions.
  • Recognize the Causes: From immune system activation to dehydration, there are several reasons why you might feel sick after a massage.
  • Know the Duration: Typically, post-massage discomfort lasts a few hours to about a day and a half.
  • Prevent and Manage: Stay hydrated, eat light, rest, and use heat or cold therapy to prevent and manage post-massage sickness.
  • Seek Medical Attention When Needed: If symptoms persist, are severe, or if you have underlying health conditions, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice.

Remember, every body is unique and responds differently to massage. Listen to your body, take care of it, and don’t hesitate to seek professional advice when needed.

After all, massages are meant to enhance your well-being and provide relaxation. With the right knowledge and care, you can make the most of your massage experience.

We hope this guide has been helpful!


  1. Cleveland Clinic: An article explaining why the body might feel worse after a massage.
  2. Yahoo: A piece discussing the reasons behind feeling sick after a massage.

Q: How long will I feel sick after a massage?

A: The duration of feeling sick after a massage can vary from person to person. Some people may only experience symptoms for a few hours, while others may feel sick for a couple of days.

Q: Is it normal to feel sick after a massage?

A: It is relatively common to feel sick after a massage, especially if it was a deep tissue massage. This is because during the massage, toxins are released into the body, which can make you feel nauseous or dizzy.

Q: Why do I feel sick after a massage?

A: There are several possible reasons why you may feel sick after a massage. One reason is that the massage stimulates movement and circulation, which can result in the release of toxins into the bloodstream. Additionally, if you were dehydrated before the massage, the release of toxins may overload your system and make you feel sick.

Q: How can I avoid feeling sick after a massage?

A: To help prevent feeling sick after a massage, it is recommended to drink plenty of water before and after your massage session. Hydration can help flush out toxins from your system and minimize the likelihood of experiencing nausea or dizziness.

Q: How can I relieve feeling sick after a massage?

A: If you find yourself feeling sick after a massage, there are a few things you can try to relieve the symptoms. Drink water to stay hydrated and aid in flushing out toxins. Resting and allowing your body to recover can also be beneficial. If the symptoms persist or worsen, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional.

Q: How long until I start feeling better after a massage?

A: The time it takes for you to start feeling better after a massage can vary depending on the individual and the specific massage treatment. Generally, most people start to feel better within a few hours to a few days after the massage.

Q: Is it normal to feel nauseous after a massage?

A: Yes, it is normal to feel nauseous after a massage, especially if it was an intense or deep tissue massage. The release of toxins during the massage can cause feelings of nausea or queasiness. However, if the symptoms persist or worsen, it is advisable to seek medical advice.

Q: What are the common side effects of a massage?

A: Feeling sick or nauseous is a common side effect of a massage. Other common side effects can include muscle soreness, fatigue, and temporary discomfort. These side effects are usually temporary and subside within a few days.

Q: Can a massage cause sickness?

A: While it is not common for a massage to directly cause sickness, some people may experience symptoms such as feeling sick or dizzy after receiving a massage. These symptoms are often a result of the release of toxins and the body’s natural reaction to the stimulation of circulation and movement.

Q: What happens to the toxins released during a massage?

A: The toxins released during a massage are filtered through the liver and kidneys, which are responsible for processing and eliminating waste from the body. To help assist in the elimination process, it is important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and support the body’s detoxification mechanisms.