Should you get a massage when you have a cold?
The line between 'I'm sure I'll cope' and 'I'll heal faster with rest'' is often blurry when considering whether or not to carry on as normal with low-grade cold symptoms. What if you've got a massage booked?
Here's my general advice: Cold Days 1 -4: No. Reschedule your massage appointment.
Cold Days 5+: Yes, come for massage (if you've not had a temperature in the past 24 hours).
Why 'No' in Days 1-4?
Because your immune system is fighting at this time and massage puts further strain on it - it's likely it will exacerbate your cold symptoms and make you feel much worse, possibly even spreading your infection from localised lymph nodes to other parts of your body. Plus, you're infectious. Even with fastidious hygiene all round, passing a virus on to your therapist is highly likely. S/he cannot work when sick due to a primary duty of care not to infect others, doubly-so if working with people whose immunity may be compromised, eg cancer patients, the elderly or pregnant women. I assure you that your thoughtfulness in rescheduling your massage appointment will be appreciated by your therapist and their other clients.
Why 'Yes' in Days 5+? Because by Day 5 you will know if it was 'just a cold' or not. It's difficult in the early days to differentiate between a relatively innocuous cold and more debilitating illnesses like flu, tonsillitis or bronchitis, which would certainly be made worse by getting a massage. Swedish (light) massage helps ease aches and pains and aids immune system recovery, it can work wonders for lingering sinus discomfort too, so at the tail-end of a cold when you are trying to re-balance yourself, massage will pick you up rather than drag you down.