Massage therapy is a popular form of relaxation and healing, but it can also have some potential risks and side effects. Most of these are mild, but there are some serious complications that can occur. An overzealous massage can cause internal bleeding or nerve damage, while an allergic reaction may occur to any cream or oil used by the therapist. Deep tissue massage can also cause pain, bruising, swelling, muscle or tendon tears, torn fascia, or even a stroke.
To minimize the risk of any of these complications, it is important to disclose all medical conditions and allergies to your therapist before you go to the table. Drinking at least 8 ounces of water before and after the massage can also help to prevent any side effects. Sports performance may be slightly affected by pre-event massaging, but this is usually a minor consideration for most people. Massage therapists should be aware that they may only see high-risk situations a handful of times throughout their career, and should be prepared to intelligently manage them.
This is illustrated by the case study of a young man who died after his mother gave him a leg massage after an ankle fracture, and a pregnant woman who fell into a coma after a traditional Thai massage in a shopping mall in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Four databases were reviewed for articles that reported on the adverse effects of any type of massage therapy. It was found that most negative symptoms started less than 12 hours after the massage and lasted 36 hours or less. My name is Eve and I'm an avid massage enthusiast.
I recently bought a massage chair and have been addicted to massages for as long as I can remember. Deep tissue massage is a type of massage that focuses on the deeper layers of muscles and connective tissues, using deeper pressure to relieve recurrent muscle tension and reach the lower layers of muscle tissue. The authors of one report reasonably assumed that an injury was caused by a massage, but pointed to other possible explanations such as the rupture of small aneurysms. Another case report described an elderly woman who developed a pulmonary embolism after her husband vigorously massaged her leg, despite her having a known deep vein thrombosis - a serious contraindication for massage that any competent massage therapist would undoubtedly avoid.