Dizzy Spells After Massage — What To Do

Have you ever felt dizzy after a massage? People usually get a massage to relax, perform better in sports, or help to rehabilitate an injury or even prevent injury.

No one goes into a massage with the goal of feeling dizzy afterward, so what gives? What does it mean when you feel dizzy or lightheaded after a massage?

Thankfully, dizziness after a massage is a common occurrence and usually nothing to be concerned about. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce dizziness either before or after a massage so that you don’t have to experience as much of this unwelcome side effect.

Feeling Dizzy After Massage – Why It Happens

So why does dizziness happen after a massage? Is it something to be concerned about?

Generally speaking, no, being dizzy after a massage is completely normal. There are quite a few reasons why you might be feeling dizzy after a massage, some are of no concern, but some are health hazards and should be taken seriously.

Keep reading to find out what causes of lightheadedness are actually causes for concern. 

9 potential causes of lightheadedness after a massage:

1.     Postural hypotension

2.     Blood pressure

3.     Dehydration or heat stroke

4.     Anemia

5.     Emotional stress or anxiety

6.     Heart problems

7.     Prescription medicines

8.     Eating disorders

9.     Toxic shock syndrome

Potential Causes

1.    Postural Hypotension

Postural hypotension happens when you stand up from lying down or sitting. This means that postural hypotension can happen anytime you stand up from sitting or lying down—not just when you’re getting off a massage table.

Postural hypotension is a type of low blood pressure that makes you feel lightheaded, dizzy, or faint.

Other side effects that can accompany postural hypotension are: 

·      Weakness

·      Blurred vision

·      Nausea

·      Confusion

Postural hypotension is the most common reason for feeling dizzy after a massage and is nothing to be concerned about, unless you are also experiencing one of the potential causes listed below.  

2.    Low Blood Pressure

As we just learned, another term for low blood pressure is “hypotension.”

If your low blood pressure is more chronic (not due to lying down and standing up again), and you feel lightheaded after a massage, it may be because you haven’t eaten recently, or maybe you have other causes of low blood pressure.

If you have medical reasons for having low blood pressure and are aware of it before going into your massage, be sure to inform your massage therapist of your condition.

Telling a massage therapist about your low blood pressure will give them the proper information they need so they can encourage you to take your time getting off the table after a massage to give your blood pressure time to readjust.

3.    Dehydration or Heat Stroke 

If you are suffering from heat stroke or dehydration, you bet dizziness is going to be part of those side effects.

There is a reason your massage therapist offers you water after a massage. Massage strokes get fluids moving in your body, and drinking water aids in that process.

It’s like taking a drink of water after a meal—it helps things move through your system.

If you’re already dehydrated, then it will be difficult for your body fluids to move properly, and will get stuck without proper hydration to move them through your system.

So, if you’re dehydrated before a massage, you’re likely to feel dizzy afterward. Don’t worry, once you are properly hydrated, the dizziness should go away.

Word of caution: Don’t chug water if you are severely dehydrated as this will stress your system. Instead, take frequent sips of water to allow your body to properly integrate hydration to all of your body’s systems. 

4.    Anemia

Anemia is another term for iron deficiency, and it is a common condition among women. Lightheadedness or dizziness can be a symptom of anemia.

Other symptoms of anemia are:

·      Easily fatigued

·      Rapid heart rate

·      Shortness of breath

·      Difficulty concentrating

·      Pale skin

·      Leg cramps

·      Insomnia

Do you have these symptoms? Check with your doctor to make sure you aren’t anemic.

With that said, massage is safe even if you’re anemic. Massage therapy won’t make anemia worse.

5.    Emotional Stress

Surprisingly, emotional stress like depression or anxiety can compromise a person’s ability to cope with dizziness.

If you’ve simply had a particularly stressful week, you can be more susceptible to feeling lightheaded after a massage.

Even so, a stressful week is a perfect reason to receive a massage! Massage has many benefits, with relaxation being one of them.

6.    Heart Problems

Poor blood circulation due to heart problems is a major cause of dizziness, and if you are aware that you have a heart condition, you should absolutely tell your massage therapist.

Not to worry, depending on your heart condition, you can most likely still get a massage. Telling your massage therapist about your will allow them to adapt their techniques to better suit your needs.

7.    Prescription Medicines

This is another important thing to tell your massage therapist about. Depending on what medications you are taking, it can contraindicate a massage.

Massage contraindications are things that disqualify someone from receiving a massage. This can be for the safety of the client, the therapist, or both.

For example, if you are currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment, there is a specific timeline in which you should not receive a massage.

Chemotherapy can seep through the skin, so if you receive a massage immediately after receiving treatment, you could pass on some of the chemo to your massage therapist!

With that said, if you have cancer, massage can actually benefit you. A light-pressure, relaxation massage is safe for all stages of cancer.

It’s likely that you’ll be feeling too sick to receive a massage after chemotherapy treatment. However, if you are undergoing treatment and have medical clearance from your physician to get a massage, your therapist may choose to wear gloves to stay on the safe side.

8.    Eating Disorders

If you suffer from an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, you might be more prone to feeling dizzy after a massage. In fact, you’re prone to feeling dizzy in general because your body isn’t getting the proper fuel that it needs.

There have been studies that show that massage therapy helped to decrease the level of body dissatisfaction in clients with eating disorders. We think this is an amazing benefit of massage!

9.    Toxic Shock Syndrome 

If you have toxic shock syndrome, you’re likely feeling the effects long-before you go in for a massage. The symptoms of toxic shock syndrome are:

·      Low blood pressure

·      Vomiting or diarrhea

·      Confusion

·      Muscle aches

·      Redness of your eyes

·      Headaches

·      Seizures

This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical intervention. If you suspect that you have toxic shock syndrome, please call your doctor.

The Good News – Dizziness After A Massage Is Normal

 As you can see, they aren’t necessarily directly related to the massage being given, but can be worsened through massage since the massage strokes encourage the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids.

If your body isn’t in the proper state to handle the movement of these fluids, then the result might be dizziness or lightheadedness.

What To Do If You’re Dizzy After A Massage

Now we know some of the potential causes of feeling dizzy after a massage. But now that you are feeling dizzy, what to you do?

The best thing to do immediately after a massage is to take your time getting off the table.

Slowly sit up, swing your legs over the table, and sit there for a few moments before standing up completely.

If you quickly get off the table and stand up, your blood may not have time to catch up with you and it can all rush to your head, causing the classic “black-out vision” that can accompany dizziness.

 Overall, dizziness after a massage is usually normal and will pass quickly. If you need to, ask your therapist if you can sit in the waiting area before driving home.

They should be more than happy to let you re-center yourself before hitting the road. If not, it might be time to find another massage therapist!

Related Questions

Is It Safe To Drive After A Massage?

If you feel dizzy after a massage, wait until you return to normal before driving home.  

You can ask for water and a place to sit while you regain your composure before leaving the massage studio, spa, or office.

Your massage therapist should be more than happy to let you remain for as long as you need to before driving home.

Can I Take Dramamine Before A Massage To Reduce Dizziness? 

Taking any over-the-counter medications before a massage is generally not recommended. This is because any drug you take could dampen your perception of pain, dizziness, and other senses. 

For example, if you take pain medication before massage, you may not be able to tell how much pressure is too much and might end up with bruises.

The same goes for taking medications such as Dramamine. Dizziness can be an important indicator of other conditions that might not be related to your massage.

You’ll want to have all of your senses working at full-force so you can always tell your therapist when something seems off.

massage therapyEmily Benson