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Swedish Massage Contraindications: What You Need to Know

If you’re considering booking a Swedish massage, it’s important to be aware of the potential contraindications. Although this type of massage is generally safe and beneficial for most people, there are certain situations where it may not be appropriate or advisable.

What are the main contraindications to Swedish massage?

Swedish massage is a gentle form of massage that involves using long strokes, kneading, and circular movements on the muscles. It’s generally considered safe for most people, but there are a few contraindications to be aware of. These include:

  • Open wounds or injuries
  • Recent surgery
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis
  • Fever or illness
  • Pregnancy (particularly during the first trimester)

What are common contraindications for Swedish massage?

Aside from the main contraindications listed above, there are some other factors that may make Swedish massage unsuitable for certain individuals. These can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer or undergoing cancer treatment

What is a general contraindication for Swedish massage?

In general, it’s recommended to avoid Swedish massage if you have any acute injuries, inflammation, or pain in the area to be massaged. This can include recent sprains, strains, or other injuries that haven’t fully healed.

What are systemic contraindications for Swedish massage?

Systemic contraindications refer to conditions or situations that affect the entire body and can make Swedish massage potentially dangerous or uncomfortable. Some examples include:

  • Blood clots or a history of thrombosis
  • Heart disease or cardiovascular problems
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Respiratory conditions, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

What is a total contraindication for Swedish massage?

A total contraindication refers to a condition or situation where Swedish massage should never be performed under any circumstances. This includes:

  • Contagious skin infections, such as ringworm or impetigo
  • Acute inflammation or infection
  • Severe bruising or swelling
  • Any condition that requires medical attention or hospitalization

What medications are contraindicated for Swedish massage?

Certain medications can also affect the suitability of Swedish massage. These can include:

  • Blood thinners, such as Warfarin or Heparin
  • Painkillers or muscle relaxants
  • Antibiotics or other medications that affect the immune system

It’s important to inform your massage therapist of any medications you’re taking before your session, as they may need to adjust their technique or avoid certain areas of the body.

What is a side effect of Swedish massage?

While Swedish massage is generally safe and beneficial, there are some potential side effects to be aware of. These can include:

  • Soreness or tenderness in the muscles
  • Fatigue or dizziness
  • Headache or nausea
  • Increased urination or thirst

These side effects are usually temporary and should subside within a few hours to a day after your session.

What are the key effects of Swedish massage?

Swedish massage has a variety of effects on the body and mind, including:

  • Promoting relaxation and reducing stress
  • Improving circulation and oxygen flow
  • Relieving muscle tension and pain
  • Boosting the immune system and overall wellness

When should I get a Swedish massage?

Swedish massage is a versatile massage modality that can benefit most people. If you’re experiencing any muscle tension, stress, or general discomfort, a Swedish massage can help you relax and release that tension. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for a general sense of relaxation and rejuvenation. If you have a specific area of tension or discomfort, you can also ask your massage therapist to focus on that area during your session.

However, there are some cases where a Swedish massage may not be appropriate. If you have any medical conditions or injuries, it’s always best to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before getting a massage. They can advise you on whether a Swedish massage is safe and appropriate for your condition.

What are less common contraindications for Swedish massage?

While many people can safely receive Swedish massage, there are some less common but still important contraindications to keep in mind. For example, individuals with certain skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, may experience discomfort or irritation during a massage. Additionally, those with blood clotting disorders, osteoporosis, or certain types of cancer may be at increased risk for injury during a massage.

How can therapists check for contraindications before a session?

Before beginning a Swedish massage session, it’s important for massage therapists to gather a thorough health history from their client. This includes asking about any medical conditions, injuries, or surgeries the client has had, as well as any medications they are taking. Additionally, therapists may perform a visual and/or physical assessment of the client’s body to check for any areas of tenderness, inflammation, or other signs of potential contraindications.

Should certain body areas be avoided during Swedish massage with contraindications?

Yes, if a client has certain contraindications for Swedish massage, there may be specific areas of the body that should be avoided or worked on with caution. For example, if a client has a herniated disc in their lower back, the massage therapist may need to avoid applying pressure directly on the affected area. Similarly, if a client has a recent surgery or injury, the therapist may need to avoid massaging the affected area until it has had a chance to heal.

What other modalities may be suitable for individuals with Swedish massage contraindications?

For individuals with contraindications for Swedish massage, there are many other types of massage and bodywork modalities that may be more appropriate. For example, those with joint pain or mobility issues may benefit from gentle stretching and range of motion exercises, such as Thai massage or Feldenkrais. Additionally, those with high levels of stress or anxiety may benefit from relaxation-focused modalities, such as Reiki or craniosacral therapy.

Can contraindications for Swedish massage change over time?

Yes, contraindications for Swedish massage can change over time or with changes in a person’s health status. For example, if a client has recently undergone surgery or experienced a traumatic injury, they may need to wait until they are fully healed before receiving a massage. Similarly, if a client develops a new medical condition or begins taking a new medication, it’s important for the massage therapist to update their health history and adjust the massage session accordingly.


Author: Mason Palmer

Founder / Massage Therapist

IMMERSE Modern Massage

Mason is a master massage therapist in Portland, Oregon, with over 10,000 hours of hands on work. His expertise in deep tissue anatomy, myofascial release, and trauma-informed somatic therapy. He is also a 200-hour certified yoga instructor and has received Reiki Master level training from three different schools. Mason has explored various healing practices, including Mindfulness Meditation, Personal Training, Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Ayurveda, and Chinese medicine, for over a decade. He is the author of “Energy Healing, One Truth Many Teachers” and is known for his proven track record for creating plans of care for his clients to overcome pain and discomfort in their body, and to make sure that pain doesn’t come back.

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At IMMERSE Massage Portland,

Our mission is to help you relieve the stress, tension, and pain that degrades your quality of life so you can be the very best version you, body and mind.

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  • Avatar Jordan Cohen ★★★★★ 5 months ago
    Wow! Walking into Immerse Modern Massage, my entire body immediately relaxed right at the front door. The aromatherapy is so intoxicating and soothing, and the ambiance is very nice. Walking into the treatment room was even better. They … More really did such a good job with the place! Not to mention the massage table! Omg, it felt so incredible to be sandwiched in between healing frequencies, warmth, and high vibrations. I can’t wait to go back!!! I was impressed to say the least.
  • Avatar adria mooney ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    Entering the space I immediately felt calm, the lighting and ambiance was perfect for relaxing. The warmth, low light and wooden ceiling made me feel like I was in a sauna. Mason greeted me and made me feel comfortable as we entered the … More massage room. The bed was heated, with weighted blanket and calming music vibrated the entire bed. I melted away as mason massaged my whole body, taking care to leave me mostly covered under the warm blanket the entire time. He also used heated towels and a wonderful essential oil blend. I felt truly relaxed and my whole body vibrated with warmth and comfort. Would definitely come back again!
  • Avatar Olivia Guethling ★★★★★ 6 months ago
    Mason is awesome! I just had an amazing massage experience and loved it. He attentively addressed the tension spots in my body and worked through them. The massage table vibrates synced up to the meditative music which was sooo relaxing … More and helped me be super dropped into the moment. The weighted blanket and the warm scented towels were another highlight. Highly recommend. Thank you, Mason!
  • Avatar Kelsey Koll ★★★★★ a year ago
    Wow! My massage with Mason was healing on so many levels! He addressed the spots of tension and diligently worked to remind my muscles that it’s okay to relax. He was very attentive to my needs and comfort.
    Immerse is definitely an appropriate
    … More name for this space as you are enveloped in delightfully warm infrared heat (through amethyst crystals!), the soothing sounds of a waterfall, and a sound bath of vibrations coming directly from the table!
    The thoughtful intention put in to making Immerse Modern Massage the healing environment that is it is apparent and very much appreciated!
  • Avatar Tracy A ★★★★★ 6 months ago
    Such a lovely experience from beginning to end. The lobby was beautifully decorated with plants, and Mason greeted me with such warmth. The table vibrates with music and is so comfortable and warm. The weighted blankets helped me feel so … More cozy and relaxed. The technique and grounded presence Mason offers is excellent. I especially enjoyed the warm scented towel on my face and neck at the end of the massage. So rejuvenating and relaxing. I felt calm and peaceful. Wholeheartedly recommend!

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