How To Treat Bruising After A Massage

Have you ever emerged from a massage feeling wonderfully relaxed, only to discover a bruise or two later on? If so, you’re not alone.

Bruising after a massage, particularly a deep tissue massage, can be quite common.

But why does it happen, and more importantly, how can you treat it?

In this article, we’ll delve into these questions, providing you with practical advice and reassurance.

Key Facts

  • Bruising after a massage is typically caused by the pressure applied during the session, especially in deep tissue massages.
  • Hypertonic or tense tissues are more prone to bruising
  • Staying hydrated and avoiding certain drinks can help treat bruising after a massage.
  • If bruising is severe or persists, it’s important to seek medical attention.

Now that we’ve covered the key facts, let’s explore this topic in more detail.

We’ll start by understanding what bruising is and why it can occur after a massage. 

We’ll then provide you with practical tips on how to treat and prevent bruising.

By the end of this article, you’ll be well-equipped to handle any post-massage bruising and continue enjoying the many benefits of massage therapy.

So, let’s get started!

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new health practices. We are not responsible for any harm or injury resulting from the application of techniques described in this article.

Understanding Bruising

Before we dive into the specifics of treating bruising after a massage, it’s important to understand what bruising actually is.

A bruise, medically known as a contusion, occurs when small blood vessels, known as capillaries, break and leak blood into the surrounding tissues.

This can happen due to a variety of reasons, such as an injury or pressure applied to the area.

Massage and Bruising: The Connection

When it comes to massage, particularly deep tissue massage, the pressure applied can sometimes be enough to break these capillaries, leading to a bruise.

This is more common in areas where the tissues are hypertonic, or overly tense.

The therapist may need to apply more force to these areas to release the tight musculature, which can increase the risk of bruising.

Here’s a quick rundown of why bruising can occur after a massage:

  • Pressure: Deep tissue massages involve applying a great amount of pressure to reach the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. This pressure can sometimes break capillaries, leading to bruising.
  • Hypertonic Tissue: Tense or tight muscles are more prone to bruising. The extra force needed to release these muscles can lead to capillaries breaking.
  • Individual Differences: Everyone’s body is different. Some people may bruise more easily than others due to factors like skin sensitivity, age, or certain medical conditions.

Despite the potential for bruising, it’s important to remember that deep tissue massages offer numerous benefits.

They can help relieve tension, improve flexibility, and speed up recovery time for injuries. 

So, while the sight of a bruise might be alarming, it’s often just a sign that your body is responding to the treatment.

In the next section, we’ll discuss when bruising is normal and when it might be a cause for concern.

Is It Normal to Bruise After a Massage?

Bruising after a massage, especially a deep tissue massage, can indeed be a normal occurrence. However, it’s essential to understand when it’s a typical part of the healing process and when it might signal a need for concern.

bruised shoulder after massage - illustration

When Is It Normal?

Bruising is most common after a deep tissue or sports massage. These types of massages involve firm pressure and techniques designed to reach deep into your muscle tissue.

This pressure can sometimes lead to minor capillary breakage, resulting in a bruise.

Here are some factors that can make bruising more likely:

  • Intensity of the Massage: The firmer the pressure, the higher the likelihood of bruising.
  • Individual Sensitivity: Some people naturally bruise more easily than others.
  • Location of the Massage: Certain areas of the body, particularly those with more muscle tension or hypertonic tissue, may be more prone to bruising.

When Should You Be Concerned?

While occasional minor bruising is typically not a cause for concern, there are instances when you should seek medical attention:

  • Severe Bruising: If the bruise is large, extremely painful, or accompanied by swelling, it’s a good idea to get it checked out.
  • Persistent Bruising: Bruises that don’t start to fade after a couple of weeks, or that keep occurring after every massage, should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
  • Bruising with No Clear Cause: If you’re bruising easily without any known cause, such as a massage or injury, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

Remember, while bruising can be a part of the healing process, if something doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. 

In the next section, we’ll provide some practical tips on how to treat bruising after a massage.

How to Treat Bruising After a Massage

Discovering a bruise after your massage session can be a bit disconcerting, but don’t worry. There are several simple and effective ways to treat bruising and speed up your recovery.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration plays a crucial role in your body’s ability to heal. Water helps flush out toxins from your body, including those that might have been released during your massage.

staying hydrated - illustration

Here are some hydration tips:

  • Drink Plenty of Water: Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. After a massage, you might need to drink even more to help your body recover.
  • Avoid Certain Drinks: Alcoholic, sugary, and caffeinated drinks can dehydrate your body. Try to limit these, especially right after your massage.
  • Consider Healthy Alternatives: Along with water, drinks like coconut water or herbal teas can be beneficial. They provide hydration and other nutrients that can aid in recovery.

Nutrition and Rest

Your diet and rest also play a significant role in healing bruises.

nutrition - illustration
  • Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods: Foods rich in vitamin C and K can help your body heal bruises faster. These include fruits like oranges and strawberries, and vegetables like broccoli and spinach.
  • Get Plenty of Rest: Rest allows your body to focus its energy on healing. Try to get a good night’s sleep and consider taking short naps during the day if possible.

Gentle Exercise

While rest is important, so is gentle movement. Light exercises can improve circulation, helping to reduce the appearance of bruises. However, avoid strenuous activity that could exacerbate the bruise.

If your bruise is severe, or if it doesn’t start to improve after a few days, it may be a good idea to seek medical advice.

In the next section, we’ll discuss how to prevent bruising after a massage.

Preventing Bruising After a Massage

After your massage, applying an ice pack to any tender areas can help reduce inflammation and prevent a bruise from forming. Deep breathing exercises can also help by promoting relaxation and improving circulation.

While it’s not always possible to prevent bruising entirely, especially if you’re prone to bruising or having a deep tissue massage, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk. 

Here are some tips to help you prevent bruising after your massage session:

Communicate with Your Therapist

Your massage therapist is a trained professional who wants to provide the best possible experience for you. Don’t hesitate to communicate with them about your comfort and any concerns you might have.

  • Discuss Pressure Levels: If the pressure feels too intense during your massage, let your therapist know. They can adjust their technique to ensure you’re comfortable.
  • Share Your Health History: If you’re prone to bruising, or if you have a health condition that could affect your massage, make sure your therapist is aware.

Prepare for Your Massage

How you prepare for your massage can also impact your likelihood of bruising.

massage therapist and client - illustration
  • Stay Hydrated: As we’ve mentioned earlier, hydration is key. It can help your muscles respond better to the massage.
  • Avoid Certain Substances: Some medications and supplements can thin your blood and make you more prone to bruising. If possible, avoid these before your massage. However, always consult with a healthcare professional before stopping any medication.


Taking care of your body after the massage can also help prevent bruising.

  • Rest and Recover: Give your body time to heal and adjust after the massage.
  • Apply a Cold Compress: If you notice a tender spot after your massage, applying a cold compress can help reduce inflammation and prevent a bruise from forming.

Understanding Different Forms of Massage and Their Impact on Bruising

When it comes to massage therapy, it’s important to understand that not all forms of massage are created equal.

The type of massage you choose can have a significant impact on your experience, including the likelihood of bruising.

Swedish Massage vs. Deep Tissue Massage

The traditional Swedish massage is a form of massage that is often recommended for those who are new to massage therapy or prefer a gentler touch.

This type of massage focuses on relaxation and the release of muscle tension. The pressure is applied more gently compared to other forms of massage, which means it’s less likely to result in bruising.

swedish massage

On the other hand, getting a deep tissue massage involves more intense pressure.

This form of massage targets the deeper layers of your muscles and the connective tissue.

It’s particularly beneficial for chronic aches and pains, such as back pain. However, the increased pressure can sometimes cause bruising, especially if you’re someone who tends to “bruise like a peach.”

Lymphatic Massage

Another form of massage that’s worth mentioning is lymphatic massage. This gentle massage aims to stimulate the flow of lymph fluid around the body, which can help remove toxins and reduce swelling.

It’s unlikely to result in bruising, but it’s always important to let your massage therapist know if you have any concerns.

The Role of Massage in Blood Clotting

It’s also worth noting that massage can affect your blood’s ability to clot. By stimulating circulation, massage helps to clear stagnant blood from the tissues.

However, if the pressure is applied in ways that they aren’t used to, your capillaries (the tiny blood vessels near the surface of the skin) can break, which may result in bruising.

In the next section, we’ll discuss when to seek medical attention for bruising after a massage.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While bruising after a massage is typically not a cause for concern, there are instances when it’s important to seek medical attention. It’s always better to be safe and consult a healthcare professional if you’re unsure. Here are some signs that you should reach out to a healthcare provider:

Persistent or Severe Bruising

If your bruise doesn’t start to fade after a couple of weeks, or if it’s particularly large or painful, it’s a good idea to get it checked out. Persistent or severe bruising could be a sign of a more serious issue.

Bruising Easily or Without Clear Cause

If you notice that you’re bruising easily, not just after massages, or if you have bruises that you can’t explain, it could be a sign of an underlying health condition.

Conditions such as blood disorders or nutrient deficiencies can cause you to bruise more easily than usual.

Accompanied Symptoms

If your bruise is accompanied by other symptoms, such as extreme pain, swelling, or difficulty moving the affected area, you should seek medical attention.

These could be signs of a more serious injury, such as a sprain or fracture.

Bruising After Every Massage

If you’re consistently getting bruised after every massage, it might be worth discussing this with your healthcare provider.

It could be that the massages are too intense, or there could be another underlying issue at play.

In the next and final section, we’ll wrap up everything we’ve discussed.

Wrapping Up: Navigating Bruising After a Massage

Bruising after a massage can be a surprising and somewhat unsettling experience, but it’s often a normal part of the body’s response to deep tissue work. By understanding why it happens and how to treat it, you can continue to enjoy the many benefits of massage therapy while minimizing any potential discomfort.

Key Takeaways

To wrap up, here are the main points we’ve covered in this article:

  • Understanding Bruising: Bruising occurs when capillaries break and leak blood into surrounding tissues. This can happen due to the pressure applied during a massage, especially deep tissue massages.
  • Treating Bruising: Staying hydrated, eating nutrient-rich foods, getting plenty of rest, and engaging in gentle exercise can all help your body heal bruises faster.
  • Preventing Bruising: Communicating with your therapist, preparing properly for your massage, and taking care of your body afterwards can help minimize the risk of bruising.
  • When to Seek Medical Attention: Persistent, severe, or unexplained bruising, as well as bruising accompanied by other symptoms, should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Remember, while bruising can be a part of the healing process, it’s always important to listen to your body.

If something doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. After all, your health and well-being are worth it!

We hope this article has been helpful in addressing your concerns about bruising after a massage.

Here’s to your health and wellness!


  1. Spa Theory: Bruising After Deep Tissue Massage: Is It Normal? – Discusses why some people might bruise after a deep tissue massage.
  2. Massage Professionals Update: Bruising After A Massage – Explains the reasons why a person might bruise after massage therapy.
  3. Medical News Today: Why do I bruise easily? 8 possible causes – Provides insight into why some people bruise more easily than others.
  4. Mayo Clinic: Easy bruising: Why does it happen? – Discusses the reasons for easy bruising and when to seek medical attention.

Q: What is deep tissue massage?

A: Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It is commonly used to treat chronic aches and pains, as well as stiffness in the body.

Q: Can deep tissue massage cause bruising?

A: While rare, it is possible for deep tissue massage to cause bruising. The pressure applied during the massage may result in minor damage to blood vessels, leading to bruising or discoloration in the treated area.

Q: Why am I experiencing bruising after a deep tissue massage?

A: Bruising after a deep tissue massage can occur due to several factors. The pressure applied during the massage may have been too intense, causing small blood vessels to rupture. Additionally, the massaged area may have been already vulnerable to bruising, or the massage therapist may have inadvertently targeted an injured blood vessel.

Q: How long does it take for bruising to appear after a deep tissue massage?

A: Bruising may appear within a few hours or days after a deep tissue massage. The extent and level of bruising can vary depending on the individual and the intensity of the massage.

Q: What can I do to prevent bruising after a deep tissue massage?

A: To minimize the possibility of bruising, communicate with your massage therapist before the session and inform them about your vulnerability to bruising. They can adjust the pressure and techniques accordingly. It is also advisable to avoid taking aspirin or blood-thinning medications before your massage, as they can increase the likelihood of bruising.

Q: Can bruising be avoided completely during a deep tissue massage?

A: While it may not be possible to completely avoid bruising during a deep tissue massage, taking precautions such as communicating with your massage therapist and avoiding blood-thinning medications can significantly reduce the risk.

Q: Is bruising a common side effect of deep tissue massage?

A: Bruising is not a common side effect of deep tissue massage. Most individuals do not experience any bruising or discoloration after a professional deep tissue massage.

Q: How can I reduce bruising from a deep tissue massage?

A: To reduce bruising from a deep tissue massage, apply a cold compress to the bruised area for 15-20 minutes every few hours or as needed. This can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Q: Is it normal to feel soreness after a deep tissue massage?

A: Yes, it is normal to experience some soreness after a deep tissue massage. The massage therapist works on deeper layers of muscle tissue, which can cause temporary discomfort. The soreness should subside within a day or two.

Q: How does deep tissue massage break up knots in the muscles?

A: Deep tissue massage targets specific points of tension in the muscles, known as knots. The massage therapist applies firm pressure and slow strokes to break up the knot and release the underlying muscle tension.