Massage After Vaccination: Indicated or Contraindicated?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

There is a lot of talk about vaccinations at the moment, as you would expect. So what does it mean for your Remedial or Massage Treatments? Let’s start with the jargon - indicated or contraindicated;

Contraindicated - suggest or indicate that a particular technique or drug is not recommended in a particular circumstance

Indicated - suggest as a desirable or necessary course of action

Basically, what is the recommendation for bodywork treatment after a vaccination?

It is usually contraindicated to have a massage treatment straight after receiving your vaccination. It is recommended you wait 2 - 4 days after your vaccination before a

scheduled Bodywork appointment. This is due to the side effect severity being different for everyone. You may experience a low-level symptom such as localised swelling or redness in the vaccination site through to severe symptoms of the disease you are being vaccinated for. In our current situation, COVID19 or influenza side effects may demonstrate as fever, headaches, sore throat, or body aches. Massage and bodywork can irritate your symptoms.

I only have localised pain/swelling within my injection site and don’t have any side effects. Can I still book a massage?

Some massage therapists believe that it is a local contraindication, which means that they will avoid the injection site and only massage parts of the body that are not close to the injection site. However, side effects may have a delayed onset so booking an appointment may result in you needing to cancel, but also the treatment may bring the side effects on. We would prefer to err on the side of conservatism and say, book your treatment for 2 - 3 days after your vaccination, no matter how you ‘usually’ react to vaccinations.

My body aches and I have a fever from the side effects of the vaccine. Isn’t that what massage is for? Why won’t a massage help?

A fever is your body telling you that it is producing an immune response. An immune response is when our body is actively trying to fight off a virus that has been introduced to our body. Your body is doing it needs to in order to protect your immune system. It is actually the immune system, in response to the virus that is increasing your body’s temperature. Massage increases our circulation, this also raises our temperature. So when you already have a fever with a high body temperature, adding another temperature-raising element is not advisable. We don’t want to interrupt the natural responses the body is having to create the immune response, plus we don’t want to spread the virus further throughout the body as this may create a longer recovery period.

Remember - there are always exceptions to the rule. If you are in pain and in a treatment plan we may be able to treat you for your condition without creating issues from the vaccine. So if you are feeling well enough - no side effects from the vaccine and are in need of your remedial treatment please call us so we can assess and provide you with the best advice.

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