Bruising After Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, How to Prevent, Stop and Treat

HomeSkinBruising After Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, How to Prevent, Stop and Treat

How common is it to experience bruising after the massage? Massage is meant to relax your body, not cause you pain and discomfort. After a deep tissue massage, your body may become bruised when blood vessels like the capillaries and red blood cells leak. Here is what you need to do to prevent, stop, and treat the bruising.

Deep tissue massage

It is not common for people to feel pain, discomfort, or bruising after a massage. However, most people who complain of bruising are like to be those that opt for a deep tissue massage.

A deep tissue massage is one that is aimed at deep tissue structures like the muscle and fascia. These tissues are also called connective tissues. In most cases, deep tissue massage will use the same movements and techniques as light style massage.

Unlike a light tissue massage, a quality deep tissue massage may help to loosen muscle tissues, help release toxins from your muscles, and finally enhance the circulation of blood and oxygen in the body.

When done properly, a deep tissue massage should not hurt. However, a deep tissue massage is likely to be a bit more uncomfortable than a light style massage. This is especially if you have some large chronic. With this kind of massage, most people report unbelievable relief immediately.

With a deep tissue massage, it is quite normal to feel mildly bruised. In most people, this is often within two to three days after the massage. The bruising is said to be as a result of lactic acid being flushed out of the congested tissues.

Bruising after a deep tissue massage is the same as soreness one experiences when you start back into exercise and slightly overdo it. After some time, the muscles get better. You will feel looser, rejuvenated, and energetic.

Dangers of deep tissues massage

In most cases, massage therapy is safe. There are, however some cases where things go wrong, and the therapy could lead to bruising or injuries. This should not scare you, while serious side effects are rare, minor side effects are common.

So what are the dangers of deep tissue massage? Some time back, a survey of 100 massage patients found out that close to 10% of the 100 patients receiving the massage reported some minor discomfort on the day following the treatment. This was found to be a familiar slight soreness. It is also known as post-massage soreness and malaise (PMSM).

That said, it is good to know that there is some side effect that can befall you when massage is not done correctly. A deep tissue massage will have the following risks if not done in the right way.

  • It could directly cause new injuries.
  • A deep tissue massage could aggravate existing injuries and chronic pain
  • It could also mildly stress the nervous system
  • Aggravated headaches
  • Deep tissue massage can dislodge blood clots, which can then get trapped in the lung or brain. This can be a potentially deadly complication

What causes bruising after the massage?

What causes bruising after a massage? Bruises, also called contusions, are one of those injuries most people have from time to time. Though not considered a serious injury, bruises are said to be the second most common sports injury after strains.

Bruising can cause mild discomfort and create quite a nasty looking discoloration on the skin. During massage therapy, either deep tissue massage or light style massage, soft tissues under your skin are crushed. In most cases, the skin does not break or rupture.

With damages soft tissues, blood from the ruptured capillaries will then leak out under the skin pool. This is what causes the area to swell and form a red or purplish mark. The mark can be sore, painful, and tender to touch.

Bruising after a massage is often associated with pain, swelling, and in some cases, restricted movements. Like muscle strain, bruising can be graded into three categories, first, second, and third-degree.

First degree bruising is the least severe, with minor capillaries rupture, accompanied by mild pain, some swelling, and stiffness. Second degree bruising is moderated while third-degree bruising is the most severe. It is often a result of the major rupture of the capillaries. These cases of bruising will result in massive swelling, severe pain, and instability around the injury site.

Bruising After Massage, Deep Tissue Massage

Bruises are common in contact sports. Though rare, anyone can get a bruise after a massage. It is possible to have bruises after:

1. Physio massage

This form of massage is used in the treatment of injury, disease, and deformity.

2. Deep tissue massage

This form of massage therapy aims at the deeper tissue structure of the muscle and fascia (connective tissue). Unlike the other form of massage, in this form, the pressure will generally be more intense.

3. Trigger point massage

This is a bodywork technique that involves the application of pressure to tender muscle tissue. This form of massage helps relieve pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body. It is also known as myofascial tiger point massage.

Other forms of massage that might lead to bruising would include:

  1. Cellulite Massage
  2. Glute massage
  3. Hot stone massage

You should not bruise after any type of massage. If, however, the brises occur, then it is possible that it was not done well. In that case, you might want to consider finding a new therapist.

Cupping massage bruising

Cupping Massage therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine. In this form of massage therapy, the massage therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. This form of massage therapy can help in relieving pain, inflammation, increasing blood flow, relaxation, and general well-being.

Cupping massage can be of two type’s dry or wet massage. In both of these types, your therapist puts flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper in a cup and set it on fire. As the paper goes out, the cups are placed upside down on your skin. This has changed in recent times where rubber cups are used instead.

Skin markings and bruising are fairly common after the cups are removed. The marking will vary from simple red rings skin discoloration. Bruising after cupping massage occurs as a result of dragging the cups while suctioned from one place to another.

Cupping massage therapy can be very beneficial. A report in the journal of traditional and complementary medicine notes that this type of massage therapy could help in the treatment of acne, herpes zoster, and pain management. The British cupping society says that cupping massage can be used to treat:

  • Blood disorders like hemophilia ( a condition I which the ability of the blood to clot is reduced) and anemia (a condition marked by a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin in the blood)
  • Skin complications such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) and acne
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Varicose vein

How to treat bruises from massage  

Regardless of what the underlying cause of the bruise is, most will result in skin discoloration. A bruise after a massage forms when blood from damaged blood cells deep beneath the skin collects near the surface of the skin.

A fresh massage bruise will often appear reddish. The bruise can then turn blue or dark purple within a few hours or days. It can be tender and, at times, very painful. For most people, the pain often goes away as the color changes.

Since the skin is not broken, you do not risk having the bruise infected, but how do you treat bruises from massage?

Other than a cold compression, over the counter pain medication and elevation of the bruised area, there is no special treatment for bruises caused by massage (either deep tissue or light style massage)

How to prevent bruising after the massage

Bruising after massage results from trauma to the muscle tissue. Well-perfumed massage therapy should smooth and elongates the tissues while breaking down adhesions.

Gliding and kneading strokes during massage therapy increase blood circulation. It works by flooding the compromised tissue with oxygen and nutrients. For this, massage therapy is meant to be therapeutic rather than traumatic.

How then do you prevent bruising after a massage? As mention, though bruising is rare, it is not uncommon.

A lot of caution should be given by the therapist during massage therapy. This is especially after a deep tissue massage. The therapist needs to be gentle around bony prominences such as the spine or shoulder blades.

To prevent bruising after deep tissue massage, as a client, you need to inform your therapist of any medical ton or supplement you are taking. You have increased chances of bruising after a massage if you are taking a blood thinner.

Finally, to prevent bruising, have the massage performed by a professional. The truth is, a component or professional massage therapist should not cause any bruising during massage regardless of your condition or the type of massage.

Home remedies for bruising after the massage

From our discussion, we have seen that bruise after the massage is quite rare. If they do happen, however, there are some simple things you can do to ease the pain, alleviate the swelling, and speed up the healing process of the bruises.

Here are some simple home remedies you can use for bruises caused by massage.

  1. A cold compress, you can do this using an ice pack or a frozen bag of vegetables. Simply apply either of these in the bruised area for around 30 minutes. This will help speed up healing and reduce swelling. When using an ice pack, do not apply the ice directly on the skin or leave it for long.
  2. At home, you can also use acetaminophen to relieve the pain caused by the bruising. Please avoid aspirin or ibuprofen, these drugs slow down blood from clotting and may prolong the bleeding.
  3. A warm compress to help increase blood flow to the bruise. With this remedy, the skin can reabsorb the blood more quickly.
  4. Seek immediate medical attention if the bruise becomes very painful or fails to heal.


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