Blood thinners and Massages, What you can and can’t do

Posted May 26, 2021 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

A massage can be extremely beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing. But there are occasions when a massage can be detrimental. Blood thinners and massages are one of those combinations that may have a negative impact on your health.

Here we’ll explain further why the combination of blood thinners and massages may have negative health implications.

Blood thinners and massage? In general, blood thinners and massages are not a safe combination. Blood thinner medications can make you prone to bleeding and bruising. Since massages generally involve exerting pressure on the skin, they can cause bruising and internal bleeding. Some professionals offer light massage therapy for this reason.

Let’s get into more of the details for blood thinners and massages…

What are blood thinners, and what are they used for?

Blood thinners in simple terms prevent blood clotting.

These medications work by slowing down the process of blood clotting. They prevent the blood cells called platelets from clumping together to form a potential clot.

Blood thinners naturally make you prone to internal bleeding, even for minor injuries. It’s also believed that those who take a high dose of blood thinner have a greater risk of internal bleeding. 

Here’s a list of common blood thinner medications:

If your healthcare provider has prescribed you any of the above blood thinners, then you may be able to save money by getting them through Prescription Hope…

With that background set up, let’s get into the question of whether or not you can get a massage while taking blood thinners.

Can you get a massage while on blood thinners?

The answer on whether blood thinners and massages mix at all greatly varies. However, when it comes to safety, the answer is no.

This is because massaging while on blood thinners may cause internal bleeding.

Massaging is the practice of rubbing and kneading the body using the hands. The process involves exertion of pressure on the body.

And as we mentioned, blood thinners make you more prone to easy bleeding and bruising, even the smallest cuts or scrapes can have a greater impact.

Similarly, when you get a massage and pressure is exerted on the skin, it can cause internal bleeding and bruises.

Contraindication

Blood thinners and massage therapy are considered a contraindication.

Contraindication is a scenario in which one treatment or activity negatively impacts another. One such example would be someone with a nut allergy should not eat food containing nuts. Clearly, there is a contradiction between the two activities, and so this is a contraindication.

We should also mention here that massages are also contraindicated under other circumstances. There are several other health conditions and medications that can make getting a massage unhealthy.

Therefore, make sure you provide your massage therapist with all of your medication information before beginning your session. This is why most massage therapists should have you fill out an information form before starting therapy with you.

Some ask you to fill out an intake form to obtain sensitive information, such as where you feel pain, areas of discomfort, and other health conditions. 

Risks of getting a massage while on blood thinners

Blood thinners and Massages

Two main effects can occur when you get a massage while on blood thinners: bruising and internal bleeding.

Below is a more detailed overview of these risks.

Bruising

Since blood thinners make it harder for your blood to clot you may notice more bruising.

It is believed that since your blood cannot clot as easily, small blood vessels beneath the skin can break during a massage. Blood can start to pool around the site where the blood vessel burst because it takes longer to clot, creating bruises.

Besides blood thinners, getting a massage while on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, and corticosteroids can cause bruising. 

You should notify your healthcare provider if you begin to notice abnormal bruising after you start taking blood thinners.

Internal bleeding

Internal bleeding is blood loss that occurs within your body from a damaged artery or vein. It can often go unnoticed initially because it is not visible.

There is a chance of a massage causing internal bleeding, especially in those that are taking blood thinners.

Deep tissue massages can particularly put you at an increased risk.

Internal bleeding can be severe and needs medical attention. Therefore, it is best to avoid getting a massage when you are taking blood thinners.

Blood thinners and massages – the safe alternatives

The only real way to get a massage while on a blood thinner is to get a light massage.

This means you can still get the treatment, but with no deep work or deep spots associated, like deep tissue massages.

The key to getting a massage while on blood thinners or any other contraindication medications is to get a gentle and non-bruising massage.

Stretching, gentle compressions, and lymphatic drainage massages are considered to be okay.

Therapy procedures for patients taking blood thinners 

Some massage parlors have a procedure to deal with patients taking blood thinners and other contraindication medications.

This is where the therapist will explain to you all the possible complications and problems associated with your massage therapy after submitting the client intake form where they ask you about your health conditions.

While explaining possible procedures, they will also provide you with therapy modifications that are much less likely to cause the complications explained.

After this, they will give you the option to continue with the modified massage therapy or to drop the therapy altogether.

Some parlors find patients who have been on blood thinners for a while tend to be more stable for medium massages.

So, depending on how long you’ve been taking contradictory medications like blood thinners, you can also opt for better but safe massage therapies.

Consent before massage therapy procedure

However, it’s important to emphasize that the parlor will probably look to obtain your consent. This is to free themselves from any liability for conditions suffered during or after a massage therapy session.

We strongly recommend you get your healthcare provider’s advice before you opt for even a light massage session while on blood thinners. 

If you do go ahead with alternative light massage therapy, be aware of symptoms that may appear or that make you feel unwell.

If a massage hurts at any point, then stop the session. A massage can often make you feel uncomfortable anyway, as it’s designed to ease out tension and knots in your muscles – but it shouldn’t hurt.

Similarly, if you feel pains or aches that you can’t handle after a massage, immediately look to consult your healthcare provider.

Closing thoughts

We hope this has been beneficial in answering the question regarding blood thinners and massages. Unless it’s for medical reasons, your best course of action may be to abstain from massage therapy and seek alternatives.

If you’re currently taking medications, then Prescription Hope may be able to help further…

If you’re having trouble affording any of your medications, enroll with us and see if you qualify to pay only $50 a month for each of your medications.



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