When Should You Seek Medical Attention for Flu Like Symptoms After Massage?

A soothing massage is often regarded as a pathway to relaxation and rejuvenation, offering a respite from the stresses of daily life. However, for some individuals, what should have been a blissful experience turns into an unexpected bout of flu like symptoms after massage. 

A perplexing phenomenon, these symptoms have left both massage recipients and practitioners scratching their heads in confusion. While massages are generally considered safe and therapeutic, the appearance of flu-like symptoms following a session has sparked curiosity and concern among the wellness community. 

In this article, we delve into the potential reasons behind the flu like symptoms after the massage, exploring various hypotheses and shedding light on how individuals can manage or prevent them from ensuring a truly gratifying massage experience.

Can you have flu like symptoms after having a massage?

Some individuals can experience flu-like symptoms after having a massage, but it is relatively uncommon. The reason behind this is known as the “post-massage soreness and malaise” phenomenon. It is not the actual flu, but the symptoms might resemble the flu.

There are a few reasons why this might happen:

Stimulation of the immune system

Massage can stimulate the immune system, leading to an immune response similar to what you might experience when fighting off an infection. This can sometimes cause mild flu-like symptoms such as a low-grade fever, fatigue, or body aches.

Toxin release

Massage, profound tissue or vigorous massages, can release toxins stored in muscle tissues. The body’s response to eliminating these toxins might lead to symptoms that resemble flu-like malaise.


Sometimes, individuals may become dehydrated during or after a massage, which can cause symptoms like headache, fatigue, and muscle aches—similar to flu-like symptoms.

Reaction to massage oils or lotions

Some people may have an allergic reaction or sensitivity to massage oils or lotions used during the massage, leading to symptoms that can be mistaken for flu-like symptoms.

Are Flu-like Symptoms after Massage Dangerous?

Experiencing flu-like symptoms after a massage is not necessarily dangerous, but it could be a cause for concern depending on the specific symptoms and their severity. In most cases, flu-like symptoms after a massage are likely a normal reaction to the treatment and should subside within a day or two. However, it’s essential to pay attention to the nature and duration of these symptoms and consider some possible explanations:

Stimulation of the lymphatic system

Massage can stimulate the lymphatic system, which is crucial to immune function. As the lymphatic system is activated, it can lead to mild flu-like symptoms like fatigue, headaches, or a slight fever. This is usually a temporary response and a sign that your body works to eliminate toxins and waste products.

Muscle soreness

Intense tissue massages may leave your muscles feeling sore, similar to post-exercise soreness. This discomfort might resemble flu-like symptoms but should improve over time as your muscles recover.


Massage can increase blood circulation and promote fluid movement within the body. If you are not adequately hydrated before or after the massage, you may experience symptoms like headaches and fatigue.

Viral infection

It is also possible that you coincidentally picked up a viral infection around the same time as your massage. The symptoms may be unrelated to the massage itself.

How long will you feel sick after a massage?

Feeling sick after a massage is not common, and most individuals experience relaxation and positive effects. However, mild and temporary discomfort or side effects may occur in some cases. If you experience adverse effects, the duration of feeling sick will depend on the underlying cause. 

One possibility is muscle soreness from intense or focused pressure during the massage. This soreness is typically mild and should subside within a day or two as the muscles recover and adapt to the treatment.

Another potential cause of feeling sick after a massage is the release of toxins, although this is a controversial topic within the massage therapy community. If you experience any detox-like symptoms, such as fatigue or headaches, are usually short-lived and should not last more than a day. Proper hydration can help support your body’s natural detoxification processes and mitigate these effects.

Additionally, emotional release during a massage can sometimes lead to feeling emotionally unsettled. This release may bring up buried emotions, and the duration of this feeling will vary depending on the individual and the emotions involved. It’s essential to recognize that any sickness or discomfort experienced after a massage should be mild and temporary. 

If you encounter severe symptoms or a prolonged illness, seeking medical attention to rule out unrelated health issues is crucial. Communication with your massage therapist about your health and comfort levels can also help tailor the massage experience to suit your needs and minimize potential negative effects.

What toxins are released after a massage?

The idea of specific “toxins” being released during massage is a topic of debate among healthcare professionals, and there is limited scientific evidence to support the concept. The term “toxins” is often used broadly and non-specifically in the context of massage and alternative therapies.

Some proponents of massage and certain bodywork techniques claim that pressure and manipulation of the soft tissues can release toxins stored in the muscles, leading to improved health and well-being. However, the exact identity of these toxins is rarely specified, and the mechanisms by which they are released and eliminated from the body still need to be clarified.

In massage, the term “toxins” might refer to metabolic waste products, cellular debris, or other substances that could accumulate in muscle tissues due to factors such as stress, poor circulation, or physical inactivity. These substances might include lactic acid, carbon dioxide, urea, and various metabolic byproducts.

However, the body’s natural detoxification systems, primarily carried out by the liver and kidneys, are highly effective at processing and eliminating waste products and harmful substances from the body. Drinking plenty of water and maintaining good overall health support these natural detoxification processes.

While massage can have numerous health benefits, including relaxation, stress reduction, and improved circulation, targeted toxin release through massage lacks substantial scientific evidence. If you have concerns about toxins or any specific health condition, it’s essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment.

Final Words

In conclusion, experiencing flu-like symptoms after a massage is rare but may occur in some individuals. These symptoms can include mild fatigue, headaches, or muscle soreness. One possible explanation for these flu-like sensations is the release of metabolic waste products or cellular debris during the massage. However, the concept of specific “toxins” being released and causing these symptoms lacks robust scientific evidence. It is essential to remember that most people feel relaxed and rejuvenated after a massage, and any adverse effects are generally mild and short-lived. If you experience flu-like symptoms after a massage, they should resolve within a day or two as your body adjusts and eliminates potential waste products.

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