When to Reschedule Massage in Cold Season

It’s that time of year again, the time when everyone is busy with bringing out hats, scarves and mittens, and bundling themselves with things that are warm and comforting. As the temperatures get cooler, everyone becomes increasingly aware that cold and flu season is lurking around the corner, and healthy habits are at everyone’s top-of-mind awareness.

The stress of holidays, season changes and wanting to slow down from hectic schedules are great reasons to book a massage appointment for your self-care routines. Too much stress can weaken the immune system and make us more susceptible to seasonal germs and illnesses.

But even with the most careful self-care routine, we can still succumb to cold and flu. If you have a massage appointment, but you feel yourself coming down with coughs, sneezes and sniffles, you may want to consider a slight shift to your wellness routine. But how to know whether or not you should reschedule your session?

Is it allergies or is it something more?

Allergies are becoming more and more common throughout the year, especially when the season changes. As they are not caused by viruses or bacteria, the concern for contagiousness is less. If there is a sudden onset of symptoms, fever and body aches are not present, or it is a chronic condition for you, you likely don’t have to worry beyond basic health precautions.

Your body is working overtime to fight infection

Massage may seem comforting while ill, but your body is already working overtime to fight off cold and flu viruses and bacteria. Though massage does not release “toxins” into the body, it can be very stimulating to a body that simply needs to get some rest. Also, it can be uncomfortable to be face-down in the face cradle with sinus congestion and pressure, which can be distracting and not relaxing. There is no reason to overtax a system and feel worse if you can postpone your session until the illness passes.

Contagiousness is serious

Massages take place in clean, warm and enclosed environments, with many people passing through every day. Even though we practice with the utmost cleanliness and sanitation processes, the lower circulation in the air makes our awareness of airborne particles from sneezing and coughing critical. What may be an annoying, persistent cold to you could mean respiratory infection or pneumonia for other clients who suffer from compromised immune systems.

Not only can colds and flu be spread to other clients, but also to your massage therapist. Illness can mean missing days of work and canceling clients, which for non-salaried therapists means they are not compensated for days they have to take off. Your massage therapist is still susceptible to colds and flu outside of work like anyone else, but reducing direct exposure is always appreciated.

Signs You May Be Contagious

  • Fever, nausea, vomiting and overall malaise
  • Sneezing, coughing and obvious cold symptoms that are not allergy-related
  • Being in the first week of the flu or in the middle of a cold

When Massage is Helpful for Illness Recovery

Coughing and hacking and being huddled in blankets can create a lot of compacted, uncomfortable feelings. Shoulders can feel tense, ribs can feel sore, all just from coughing and resting on the sofa. Getting a massage once you have recovered can feel great to loosen everything up and let you feel more relaxed and human again. It can also reduce the personal stress from time missed while being ill, and bring about a better sense of well-being. Decreasing stress can also contribute to long-term wellness and be a good way to help minimize sick days during cold and flu season.

If you still have questions about whether or not to reschedule, our front desk staff is more than happy to help! We look forward to being a continued part of your self-care routine!

Here are some insightful resources:


Allergies or Cold?



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