Massage is known for its many benefits, such as reducing stress and pain. However, while it can be relaxing, there are times when a massage can result in bruising. These bruises can leave you feeling sore, uncomfortable, and may affect your daily activities. If you’re experiencing this issue, don’t worry! There are simple tips to help manage the discomfort caused by these bruises.
Bruising after a massage is relatively common, especially if deep tissue or sports massages were performed. This does not necessarily mean that something went wrong during the massage therapy session, but rather it may simply be due to the pressure applied to certain areas. Several factors contribute to the development of these bruises, including age, medications, underlying medical conditions, and physical activity level.
In this article, we’ll provide simple tips on how to treat bruising after massage effectively. We aim to share with you some preventative measures to avoid bruising after massage sessions and several home remedies. So, let’s dive in together!
“Don’t allow bruising to prevent you from experiencing the benefits of massage; try these tips today.”
Apply Ice to the Bruised Area
You may experience some bruising after a deep tissue massage or any other type of massage, and it can be uncomfortable. Applying ice to the affected area is an effective way to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Here are some steps you need to follow:
Wrap the Ice Pack in a Towel
You should always wrap your ice pack in a towel before placing it on your skin. This is important because direct contact with ice can lead to frostbite. If you don’t have a towel, wrap the ice pack in a cloth or paper towel.
Apply Ice for 15-20 Minutes
Place the wrapped ice pack on the bruise and keep it there for about 15-20 minutes. You can repeat this process several times a day if necessary. Don’t apply ice directly to the skin for more than 20 minutes at a time, as this could cause damage to the skin.
Take a Break between Ice Applications
It is important to take breaks between applications of ice to avoid damaging your skin. Wait at least an hour before applying ice again to allow the skin to recover. If you continue to feel discomfort, consult your doctor.
“Ice helps to decrease inflammation by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to the area,” -Dr. Alison Buehler, Physical Therapist.
Applying ice is one of the best ways to treat mild bruises caused by a massage session. Make sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel, apply it for no longer than 20 min, and take breaks between applications. Remember that if your bruise doesn’t go away after a week or becomes extremely painful, seek medical attention immediately.
Use Arnica Cream or Gel
Bruising is a common side effect of deep tissue massages and can take days to fully heal. To reduce the appearance of bruises and promote healing, arnica cream or gel may be used.
Apply Arnica Cream or Gel to the Bruised Area
Arnica has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for bruising and swelling. Applying arnica directly to the affected area will help stimulate blood flow and reduce inflammation, accelerating the healing process. When applying the cream or gel, gently massage it into the skin in circular motions for better absorption.
Repeat Application 3-4 Times a Day
To see maximum benefits of arnica cream or gel, apply it at least three times a day over the affected area until the bruise starts to disappear. The more frequently you apply, the faster your body will respond to the treatment.
Do Not Apply Arnica Cream or Gel on Open Wounds
While arnica is known for its ability to minimize bruising and soreness, it should not be applied to open wounds or broken skin as it could cause irritation or an allergic reaction. It is best to wait until the wound has healed completely before using arnica.
“Arnica can visibly improve the condition of bruises and minor swellings if given time. Arnica works by increasing local blood circulation and stimulating white blood cell activity which aids in dispersing congested blood from trapped internal bleeding.” -Dr. Erika Bradshaw, naturopathic physician
In addition to using arnica cream or gel, taking care of yourself after a massage is essential to preventing further discomfort. Resting, staying hydrated and avoiding strenuous activities during the following days can help relieve muscle soreness and prevent new bruises from forming.
When used appropriately, arnica cream or gel is a safe and effective way to treat bruising after massage. Its natural properties make it an ideal alternative to traditional healing methods.
A massage session can be physically demanding, and it is essential to stay hydrated before and after a massage. Dehydration can contribute to soreness or bruising after a massage, making hydration the key to promoting healing.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water helps in flushing out toxins from the body, which can cause inflammation and reduce the blood flow to the affected area, leading to more swelling and pain. Drinking water also helps your muscles recover from any potential strain caused by the massage, reducing the risk of further injuries.
Drinking several glasses of water (2-3 liters) 24 hours before and after the massage ensures that you are well-hydrated. Avoid consuming other fluids high in sugar, as they can dehydrate you quickly and negate the effects of drinking water.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, and can quickly lead to dehydration if consumed excessively. It’s best to avoid them because they increase fluid retention and interfere with cell generation and recovery, leading to slower repair time for damaged cells.
If you must indulge in alcohol or coffee, make sure to counterbalance intake with an equal amount of water.
Eat Hydrating Foods Such as Fruits and Vegetables
Foods such as cucumber, tomato, lettuce, and spinach contain high levels of water content, keeping your body hydrated and assisting in the healing process after a massage.
Consuming these foods not only reduces muscle soreness but also provides the necessary nutrients for fast cell growth and regeneration
Consider Electrolyte-Replenishing Drinks
In addition to drinking water and eating fruits and vegetables, considering energy drinks containing essential electrolytes such as potassium and sodium will help keep you hydrated during and after a massage. Electrolytes help support healthy organ function in the body, regulate pH levels, supply oxygen to cells, prevent muscle cramping, and maintain water balance.
Replenishing your body’s electrolyte level can also flush out toxins that accumulate in muscles after vigorous activity, thus speeding up healing time for any bruising or soreness.
“It is critical to stay hydrated before and after massages to promote a safe, relaxing, and comfortable experience.” – Dr. Rachel Nazarian, Board Certified Dermatologist
Rest and Elevate the Affected Area
If you’ve ever had a massage, it’s likely that you may have experienced some bruising or soreness in the areas that were worked on. While this is common with deep tissue massages, there are steps you can take to treat the bruising afterward.
Avoid Putting Pressure on the Bruised Area
One of the first things you should do after noticing bruising from a massage is to avoid putting any additional pressure on the area. This means refraining from any exercise or strenuous activities that involve the affected area. You’ll want to give your body time to heal naturally without causing further injury.
Elevate the Affected Area Above Heart Level
Elevation is another important consideration when treating bruising after a massage. By elevating the affected area above your heart level, you can reduce swelling and inflammation by improving blood circulation throughout the area. The easiest way to achieve elevation is by propping up pillows under the affected area while lying down.
Rest the Affected Area As Much As Possible
Last but certainly not least, rest is an essential component to treating bruising after a massage. Resting allows your body to focus its energy on repairing itself and healing from the muscle manipulation during your massage. Try to schedule extra time for relaxation and sleep if possible to fully allow your body to recover.
“Bruises are caused by bleeding underneath the skin, which creates a dark discoloration. They often occur due to trauma, such as falls or accidents. But bruises can also result from therapeutic, medical, or surgical procedures, including massages.” – Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S., Openfit Fitness Expert
- Avoid aspirin or NSAIDs
- Use ice packs for 10-20 minutes at a time, several times a day
- Consider taking Arnica supplements or using topical creams to promote healing
- If you experience severe pain or the area continues to swell after a few days, seek medical attention as this may be indicative of something more serious such as a blood clot.
By following these simple steps, you can help alleviate bruising and soreness caused by massages. Remember to give your body ample time to recover, avoid pressure on the affected area, elevate above heart level, and rest as much as possible.
Avoid Heavy Exercise or Activities that Can Cause More Bruising
After a massage, you might feel rejuvenated and ready to hit the gym. However, it’s important to be mindful of the areas where you were massaged and any potential bruising that may have occurred. Avoiding heavy exercise or activities that can cause more bruising is essential to ensure proper healing.
Avoid High-Impact Activities
High-impact activities such as running, jumping, or anything that requires sudden movements can worsen the bruising and even lead to further injuries. It’s crucial to avoid these types of exercises until the bruises have fully healed.
“Any traumatic injury – including muscle tears, sprains and strains – needs time to heal before you challenge that body part again with exercise.” -Charles Baylis, physical therapist and strength coach in New York City
Avoid Heavy Lifting
If your massage included work on your back or arms, lifting heavy weights is not recommended for at least 24-48 hours after the session. The added stress on the muscles could increase inflammation, making the bruising worse.
It’s best to stick to lighter weightlifting sessions and focus on other areas of your body until the bruising heals.
Do Low-Impact Exercises that Do Not Affect the Bruised Area
You don’t have to skip your regular workout routine entirely when dealing with bruising after a massage. Instead, try low-impact exercises that do not affect the bruised area. Walking, cycling and swimming are all great ways to keep active while allowing your body to properly heal from the massage.
When doing low-impact exercises, make sure to listen to your body and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.
Consult with a Doctor or Trainer Before Resuming Exercise
If you’re uncertain about when it’s safe to resume exercise after bruising from a massage, consult with a medical professional or your personal trainer. They can provide guidance on what exercises are appropriate for your current condition and how to slowly ease back into your normal routine.
“Be patient and follow the instructions of your therapist in order to give yourself ample time to recover appropriately.” -Dr. David Geier, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
It’s essential to allow adequate time for your body to heal properly before resuming strenuous exercise. Rushing back into intense workouts could prolong the healing process and increase the risk of further injury.
Avoiding heavy exercise or activities that can cause more bruising, doing low-impact exercises that do not affect the bruised area, and consulting with a doctor or trainer before resuming activity are all vital steps to treating bruising after a massage. By taking these precautions, you can ensure that your body heals correctly and avoid any additional injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Causes Bruising After Massage?
Bruising after a massage can be caused by deep tissue work, poor circulation, or pressure points. The pressure can cause tiny blood vessels to burst, leading to bruising. Some people are also more prone to bruising than others, due to age, medication use, or medical conditions.
What Are Some Home Remedies for Treating Bruising After Massage?
To treat bruising after a massage, apply a cold compress to the affected area for 10-20 minutes at a time. Elevating the area can also help reduce swelling. Arnica cream or gel can also be applied topically to reduce bruising and inflammation.
Can You Prevent Bruising After a Massage?
While it may not be possible to prevent bruising after a massage, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk. Stay hydrated before and after the massage, avoid alcohol and blood thinners beforehand, and communicate with your therapist about your comfort level and any concerns you may have.
When Should You Seek Medical Attention for Bruising After Massage?
If the bruising is severe, lasts longer than a week, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as severe pain or difficulty moving the affected area, it may be necessary to seek medical attention. The same applies if you have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood-thinning medication.
Are There Any Supplements or Medications That Can Help Treat Bruising After Massage?
Vitamin K and bromelain are two supplements that may help reduce bruising and inflammation. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can also be taken to alleviate pain. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements or medications.