Laying Down

Swollen Face After a Massage? What’s The Deal?

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A body massage has a lot of benefits. It helps with relaxation, increases flexibility, improves circulation, reduces muscle tension, and many others. It’s no wonder many people love to have massages, especially when performed by professionals who know exactly what they are doing.

However, sometimes there can be unexpected or unusual results after a massage. These can make people panic and it can even lead them to question the integrity of the massage therapist who performed the massage.

One of those unexpected and unusual results is having a swollen face after a massage.

What’s the deal with that? Let’s look at it!

Main Reason Why People Get a Swollen Face After a Massage

Swelling after a massage is an occasional occurrence for those who had a face-down massage. With this type of massage, you lay down on a massage table where your face is supported by a face cradle that moves.

The face cradle can be positioned at different angles and it is possible that it has been positioned at a downward angle so your face is a bit lower than the body.

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Usually, massages won’t cause facial swelling, and many can be mystified when it happens. If you have a circulatory or deep tissue massage that is really focused to help the fluid move around the body, a swollen face can occur, as can swollen lumps.

The fluids are moving and because the face is at a slightly lower position than the body, the fluid can pool in the upper body.

Additionally, some massage therapists say that these are simply toxins being released by the body. It’s hard to say that this is evidence-based, but some massage therapists argue that toxins may be found in various areas of the body and are removed when the fluids pass through the lymph nodes.

Some massage therapists say that these are simply toxins being released by the body. It’s hard to say that this is evidence-based, but some massage therapists argue that toxins may be found in various areas of the body and are removed when the fluids pass through the lymph nodes.

If there is too much muscle tension, the capillaries where the fluids pass through could be clamped down. This lessens the amount of fluid passing through them. This constriction lowers the amount of toxins that go through the lymph nodes at a given time.

The tensed muscles are sometimes described as causing “knots” or lumps, which may trap various substances in the fluids.

Through massages, the tensed muscles are relaxed and knots are removed. With this, the fluids are pushed to be on their way to be expelled.

This is why there could be a greater amount of toxins processed by the lymph nodes after the massages. This same phenomenon can lead to the feeling of anxiety after a massage.

Post Massage Facial Swelling: A Temporary Issue

The facial swelling is usually temporary and typically goes away after a few hours. That’s why some massage therapists say that there is nothing to worry about. Any swelling will go away shortly.

However, there are some times that may take longer to disperse. And many of us get concerned because of how the swelling looks!

This is especially true for people who have to face other people for work or those who rely on their looks for their everyday job.

Other Reasons Why Your Face Could Swell After Massage

Apart from the position of the body and the type of massage used, there may also be other reasons why your face could swell up after the massage. Sometimes these reasons have nothing to do with the massage at all.

It may be just a coincidence that the facial swelling appeared after the massage.

Such reasons are as follows:

1. You Have A Sinus Infection

When you have a sinus infection, whether it is caused by a bacteria or a virus, your face could swell. This is because infections would cause you to produce mucus in the hopes of flushing out the bacteria or virus that has caused the infection. It’s possible that you didn’t notice your face is already swollen before the massage and it just got bigger and more noticeable after the massage.

Note: Most massage therapists advise people against getting a massage when they have an active infection, no matter where it is in the body. The massage will make the lymph nodes work more by removing more of the toxins that are in the body. When someone is sick, the lymph nodes are already working hard in removing the toxins.

It is best to have the massage scheduled after you’ve recovered, plus a few days to be sure.

Also, keep in mind that it’s not uncommon to experience flu-like symptoms after a massage — even if you don’t have the flu.

2. You Are Allergic To Something


Your body’s reaction to anything you are allergic to will vary. Some have an immediate reaction while others might have a delayed one. Take note of what you ate, if you were exposed to heavy pollen or other substances you can be allergic to before the massage.

It is possible that you’ve come in contact with something that you are allergic to without knowing it.

Also consider any massage oils, lotions, or other substances that are applied to your body during the massage. It is possible that you are allergic to one of them and that can cause your face to swell.

This can also manifest itself as a swollen lump after a massage.

A swollen face due to an allergic reaction can be remedied by taking in antihistamines.

Allergic reactions can be dangerous, as it is possible that it’s not only the outside of your face that swells but also the inside. If the air passages swell, it can cause you to find it difficult to breathe or totally cut off your oxygen supply.

3. You Have Pink Eye

It is also possible that you had conjunctivitis. This can be caused by viruses or bacteria that you might have gotten from where you had the massage. Your eyes won’t swell right after the massage, and it could take a few days for you to see those puffy eyes after massage.

The best way to avoid this is to go to a trusted massage therapist who disinfects their massage tables every after use. Take a good look at the table and make sure that the massage table sheets have been changed, and be sure everything is clean. Some massage therapists may also prefer using disposable face cradle covers like the one shown below to prevent cross-contamination among their clients.

Last update on 2024-07-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When To Call A Doctor

Facial swelling after massage can be disturbing and upsetting. Plus, in rare cases, it can be very dangerous. Whenever you find that your face is swollen after massage, it is important to assess yourself.

First, determine if you are having difficulty breathing. If you are then go to the emergency room right away. This can be a sign of a severe allergic reaction that needs immediate medical attention. If not, then the swelling is probably caused by other reasons that aren’t life-threatening.