A-Choo! How Massage Affects Cold Recovery

I’ve always found that I get over a cold much more quickly when I get a massage. Especially if I take it easy that day and drink a lot of water. Does that make sense? – Sandra L.

Hi Sandra!

‘Tis the season of sniffles and fevers, no?

Everything you’ve described makes perfect sense. I first want to emphasize that massage in relation to cold recovery is very individualized. It not only depends on the person, but the type of cold you are suffering from. Every body reacts differently to massage. For some, massage may make your cold feel better, and for others it may make you feel worse.


You see, when you get a massage, electrical signals in the body go to the area being massaged. This helps release toxins through the lymphatic system, while providing other health benefits as well. A lot of people who have a sinus cold when they get a massage, rid their bodies of the bacteria and mucus quicker. When you hydrate afterwards, it also helps increase the speed at which your body pushes those toxins out.

It may also be a good idea to think about the aches and pains your body experiences as a result of your cold. Massage helps relieve those aches. Not to mention, having 60 – 90 minutes of uninterrupted down time to rest and breathe is an extremely healthy practice.

Interestingly, some people can feel worse after their massage. If they are still in the beginning stages of their illness, and they are speeding up the cold process, it is very likely they will actually feel more sick for the next 24 – 96 hours. Think about it. A typical cold lasts 7 – 14 days. Speeding up the detox process will help your cold last closer to 2 – 4 days, but they’ll be an intense couple of days. Finally, if you’re suffering from a sinus cold and laying face down on the massage table, that may also make your symptoms feel worse by putting that pressure on your sinuses.

This being said, I do not recommend massage as an immediate cure to your cold. Clients should avoid massage if they’ve had a fever within 24 hours of the appointment, so they do not spread the bacteria throughout the spa. A good rule of thumb is to avoid massage between day 1 – day 4 of your cold.

All-in-all Sandra, I would highly recommend you seek massage in your final stages of cold recovery as a way to get back to feeling normal, quicker.