This is a serious topic, friends. If you want to schedule a massage after you have had COVID-19, you absolutely HAVE to let your massage therapist know that you have had the virus. It could literally mean life or death.
Ideally, you need to let them know well before your appointment date. You need time to connect to discuss how serious your case was. It may also be necessary for you to reach out to your healthcare team for feedback. The best plan is to talk to them before you make an appointment.
The biggest concern is the risk of blood clots associated with COVID-19. While blood clots have primarily been seen in patients hospitalized with severe cases, there are still a lot of unknowns. Autopsies of patients who have died from COVID often show severe clotting, which contributed to multiple organ failure and death. You can read an interview about COVID-19 and clotting issues written by a massage pathology eductator here.
One of the benefits of massage is that it improves the flow of blood through your muscles and organs. A massage stroke presses down on your muscles, stretching and warming them. Those muscles have blood vessels supplying them, and that same motion pushes the blood in the direction of the stroke.
Maybe you noticed that these strokes are often deliberately pushing blood towards your heart. Once there, it travels to the lungs for fresh oxygen, and then back through your organs and muscles again. Because of this, it is possible to dislodge a clot and send it traveling through you body to create big problems.
Your massage therapist will want to discuss the severity of your COVID symptoms, how long you were ill, and whether or not you were hospitalized. Even if we’re not talking about massage after COVID-19, it’s important to know if you’ve had a history of clotting issues. People with a serious history of clots will need to discuss the risks of circulatory massage with their doctor.
You may have noticed they keep asking you about your ability to exercise and increase your heart rate/respiratory rate. They’ll want to know if you’ve had any new or unusual muscle aches or pain. It’s also important to know if you have seen any unexplained marks, rashes, bumps, or other lesions on your skin. These are all screening questions to help rule out blood clots.
So please, don’t be embarrassed, don’t brush it off. Let your massage therapist know and answer their questions honestly. They are trying to keep you safe!