You are here:

Massage/something odd happened during my massage yesterday


Calley wrote at 2010-11-21 23:12:23
Hi ~

I had the same thing happen to me just today.  I went in for a full body massage, which I have had many in the past.  I have severe lower back pain which has been flaring up a lot more recently.  When I got off the table, I felt like my entire face was swollen and it was.  So bad in my eyes that I could barely see and the left side of my upper lip was swollen.  I also had the same stuffy nose that I have everytime I get a massage.  But this swelling was crazy.  

I asked the therapist why this happened.  I told him that this has never happened before and it concerns me.  He stated that is was because of the work on my lower back.  Since my back was so bad this time, he did extra work in that area which caused more of the stuff in my body to circulate.

I had to wait a while to drive home since my eyes were so swollen and then when I walked in the door, my husband & 4 year old daughter were very concerned.  However, my daughter keeps laughing at me, tellin gme I look funny.  I felt like I had been beaten up.  Crazy!

Joan wrote at 2010-11-30 14:49:27
I, too, had the same thing happen to me.  I received a 90 minute, full-body massage last night, 11/29/10, starting out face down.  I could feel the right side of my face getting swollen, then it moved to my upper lip and left side of my face.  This morning my face is still swollen.  I have been icing, which has provided a little relief.  I was wondering why this happened.  My massage therapist said she uses a fragrance free detergent.  I don't have any known allergies.

mrpastorc wrote at 2010-12-31 01:53:19
I have also had this strange phenomenon. For soem reason every time I get a massage face down my top lip swells and sometimes my eyes swell almost shut. No one ever tell me why but my therapist once said that it was the toxins being released from my muscles during the massage.

Mary wrote at 2011-12-02 12:18:46

While lying face down, my nose started to plug, eventually I could feel my face swelling to point of itching.  It became so uncomfortable that I had to remove my face from the little round it was in/on.  It was 60-70 minute acupressure massage.  This was yesterday late afternoon, it is now the next day and my face is still swollen, just a little less, but very noticeable.  I do not know what to do to ease it, cold hasn't seemed to work.  My nose is no longer plugged up also.  Is this due to sinus'?  It happened slightly my first massage with this individual but I've had several between first time and this time and it hasn't happened since.  And it wasn't to this degree! Help! (paste from Jeanine)

I had the same length of massage time and same swelling. When it was done my whole face was so swollen..and the same thing nose got stuffy and had nasal drip...but my goodness my  face was huge and tingling  

Loriluxo wrote at 2012-07-10 21:26:11
This also has happened to me many times. I have to lay on my stomach and have my face laying to either side. The headpiece which put your face in seems to add to the sweeping of my eyes an lips. Once I stopped using it , the swelling stopped. Hope this helps!

inga lorbetski wrote at 2013-02-03 16:16:39
Had it happen twice to me too. I do have auto immune problems and this was just a manifestation of the condition. Went away for few months then came back. Cause really unknown

massageye wrote at 2013-02-20 17:54:19
I have had swelling in my face, itchy head, and on bad days pain in my chest and fatigue after a face down massage, yoga (postures with my head down), and sometimes sex, for about 25 years.  I had my heart checked out, and it is fine.  The allergy season seems to make it worse.  I do have very sore muscles in my chest, and they get worse when I hold my breath a lot, but I breathe more during massage and yoga.  No massage therapist or doctor I know are able to explain this, so I turn during massage every 15 min, and avoid the head down postures during yoga.  Swelling after sex has not happened for years now.  So, I ruled out that I am allergic to something in any particular space, but I think that my seasonal rhinitis/asthma are contributing factors.

Lori wrote at 2016-02-05 11:58:28
I too am "afflicted" by the same symptoms after power yoga and occasionally from massage. No allergies at all to anything (tested) and I never get a reaction from any other form of exercise. I wish someone could tell us why this occurs.

Certified Massage Therapist wrote at 2016-06-09 18:50:16
I am a massage therapist, and get massages often. I also have poor circulation and eat more salt than I should.

This happened to me a couple times until I realized what was causing it.

When you're face down in the face cradle, only your nose, mouth, and maybe your eyes (depending on each person and how the cradle fits their face).

Being in this position, and doing circulation work, fluids get moved around, and with this open pocket of flesh hanging lower than the rest of your body, it will all travel to this one area.

My doctor stated they do not have a shot for this. Only logical thing is ice compression, keeping your head elevated, and Benedryl MAY help.

Besides that, just wait for it to flush out itself. It took me about a day to be back to somewhat normal, with only slight swelling.

TIP during massage: Ask your massage therapist to higher the face cradle when not working on back and neck. And turn your face looking sideways instead of down for long periods of time.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Kathryn Merrow


I can respond to questions about migraines and headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, hand-wrist-arm pain, upper back pain, and other assorted and miscellaneous pain symptoms. I can also respond to general questions about massage and how to select a massage therapist.


I have been a massage therapist since 1992 specializing primarily in pain relief techniques. I utilize the St. John Method of Neuromuscular Massage Therapy (NMT) and other bodywork modalities. I'm The Pain Relief Coach online.

Professional Member of American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCTMB)


My initial training in massage was at Health Enrichment Center in Lapeer, Michigan. I have had advanced training or workshops with Kurashova Institute for Studies in Physical Medicine, St. John Neuromuscular Institute of Pain Relief, Center for Self-Healing and many others. I now share my education and experience as a Massage Instructor and Pain Relief Coach.

Awards and Honors
The highest honor I receive is when someone tells me that they finally understand why they had pain, that they took action and that their pain is either less or is totally gone.

Past/Present Clients
I have done well over 20,000 therapeutic massage sessions, primarily with clients with various types of pain or painful syndromes.

©2016 All rights reserved.