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Massage/Shingles after massage


Maisie wrote at 2011-05-22 09:53:20
I had a deep tissue massage and I am almost positive that it activated shingles, which was / is severe. I would nevewr be able to prove it but I feel certain that did not get it from the therapist but rather she unknowingly stimulated the virus, the massage was so deep. I am sure that I am not alone. Individuals will not want to report this as they feel foolish. I felt foolish but I had to let you know.  

Beeloo wrote at 2011-06-27 05:53:30
I  experienced a burning sensation on my right side of my back which wrapped around my side and basically centered on my rib (right side). It is very uncomfortable and feels like a burning sensation. I got a massage to help with the pain and after I got these red pimples on my right thigh (back side) that were extremely paimful... I went to see a doctor and he prescribed me a medication for shingles which helped reduce the pimples... this is the third time that a massage has triggered the shingles... I guess no more massages for me....

leona wrote at 2011-08-10 00:13:49
This just happened to my boyfriend! I bought us both deep-tissue massages, and the next day a rash had sprouted at the spot where he said his massage therapist had done the most deep-tissue work. We assumed it was an allergy, but he just got back from the doctor, and it's shingles.  

Regina wrote at 2012-03-05 15:54:19
I agree that deep tissue massage could contribute to the activation of shingles. I am a healthy, fit 51 year old female. I had a facial on Friday 2/24/2012 where the technician performed deep tissue massage on my face (cheek and forehead area). The massage to my cheek hurt badly but I did not complain because I thought, well this is deep tissue massage so it should hurt. I developed shingles on the left side of my face two days later. See link below...I guess it's possible...

missE wrote at 2012-06-24 14:22:27
I had shingles on the back of my left thigh a little over 3 months a ago, received the antiviral & steroid & gabapentin therapy for 10 days & it responded & was gone in a little over 3 weeks.  I had a deep tissue massage this past week concentrating on my my back, neck and lower back,  2 days later my shingles reappeared in the same spot, same type of pain just before the breakout.  Strange coincidence, but I think the massage may have triggered the virus again.

Jojo wrote at 2012-09-24 06:21:33
I too had a massage that was deep and two days later.  Shingles. I'm sure that was the culprit  

Ramona wrote at 2012-10-02 00:50:14
Three out of the last four times that I've had deep tissue massages, I've ended up with herpes/shingles. My doctor confirmed virus, but until yesterday when I had another massage followed by shingles, I didn't make that connection.  

Stufly wrote at 2013-03-06 08:19:41
Youre all wrong. The ache in your back was most likely from the shingles virus in the first 2 days. You went to get a massage thinking it was muscular and the 3rd day symptom is the redness and blistering. Its happened to me 3 times. I always get a sore back flu ache.

Mannie wrote at 2013-06-28 16:32:41
I highly believe that a deep tissue massage triggered my shingles outbreak as well. Although I had been having back pains which lead me to get the massage, it took me almost a week to schedule an appointment therefore, had a shingles outbreak been on the horizon it would have appeared before the massage not two days later.  

Raoul wrote at 2013-08-10 07:11:06
Recently had reflexology in Singapore.

The pressure by my ankles was almost unbearable. It almost felt like a friction.

A day later, I developed shingles exactly in that same area.

I am convinced that the lower leg massage I received triggered the shingles. After all they are interfering with the nerve system.

Mrs Mac wrote at 2013-09-07 20:47:30
I had a sore shoulder, felt like I had been thumped in the back for a week. I went to a physio who said I had a small joint out of place and the muscle had gone into spasam. He pressed hard on my back manipulated it and said to come back in two days. That night I was in come agony, following morning I had two sore places where I thought due to the swelling my bra had rubbed on my right side. I struggled on for a week feeling unwell, urgent need to get bra with no wires and suffered severe bouts of pain into my breast. The spots were not healing and after a friend mentioned possible shingles I went to get it checked as my daughter is pregnant although she has had chicken pox. I have hardly any rash but by slight touch to the skin you can follow the nerve path so GP said shingles. I have a lot going on and shingles will erupt if you are stressed.

David B wrote at 2014-03-06 18:05:53
I too will add to this. I received neuromuscular therapy on Saturday and have now been diagnosed with shingles. Since the virus lies dormant in the nerves, it doesn't seem unreasonable to think that an hour of NMT (in which a lot of pressure is placed in areas that sure felt like nerve centers to me) caused it. The itching first started on my back on Tuesday and was diagnosed the next evening. You skeptics can call this anecdotal but there are just too many posts with people experiencing this. Oh, and to be clear, that was only the 1st time I'd ever received NMT and it's the first time I've ever gotten shingles. Suffice it to say, I will NEVER get NMT nor deep tissue massage again.

Mary R wrote at 2014-04-04 18:57:09
I tweaked my back a couple weeks ago and discovered my symptoms indicated a pinched nerve. I decided to get a deep tissue massage, which was excruciating but it's supposed to be. I gutted it out so my nerve pain would ultimately be relieved with a few sessions. Days later, the bumps, bug bite-looking red spots. Put kalamine lotion. No dice. Ended up in urgent care after investigating symptoms online. Yup-Shingles. Husband researched before my diagnosis and found info regarding deep tissue. I will tell my masseuse, not to blame her, but to inform her. Don't know how long this will last. Been taking colloidal silver (as well as the doc's anti-viral) and slathering the spots with aloe straight from the plant. Works a lot better than any ointment (and it's cheaper). Lots of Lysine, Vit. C and lysine-rich foods (dairy). Check online for more info. It's helping me. Minimal pain.

alias wrote at 2014-05-22 23:06:33
I just had an experience very close to the post prior to this one. I am relatively young, 48, healthy, had a deep tissue massage with lots of time spent on a glut-hamstring attachment point and sure enough, I was just diagnosed with shingles and the rash is located on that same "cheek." Fortunately, it doesn't seem like a horrific outbreak, but I am still just starting the anti-viral meds.

Alyson wrote at 2014-08-16 01:42:21
My shingles have been dormant for 10 years, although I do routinely experience post herpetic neuralgia.  I had a deep tissue massage today and i am now in the middle out a shingle outbreak .  I would never have known this was possible until I saw all if the other responses.  No more massages for me when I am experiencing the neuralgia.

Eliza wrote at 2014-12-02 14:26:43
I'm 24 years old, healthy, and have never had shingles. I didn't get a massage due to any particular pain, but more just to loosen the muscles in my back. I've had a deep tissue before, but never with this amount of pressure. The next day, I had a horrible rash on my neck where the most work was done which then spread to my back and eventually my arms and legs (most likely due to myself itching it and spreading it), I thought I was allergic to the lotion, but seeing as how I still have some marks almost a month later, I'm pretty convinced it was shingles which can heal on its own after a long time.

Alias wrote at 2015-01-06 02:47:40
I have been going to Myofascial release for months and recently was diagnosed with shingles. I'm only 32, but this is the second time I've gotten them, the first being when I was 12.  Anyone ever experienced this with MFR?  It makes complete sense, but it gives me too many other benefits to even consider stopping. This does put my mind at ease that others have experienced similar reactions.  

Tina wrote at 2015-03-01 15:06:52
wow! As much as I love deep tissue massages ~ on more than one occassion I have experienced either one virus or another coming to the surface. Shingles in particular. I guess the question is do I continue? Is there a way to prevent it?

Anita wrote at 2015-07-09 07:04:22
Wow! I didn't think I would come across so many people with shingles as a result of deep tissue massage/manipulation. Felt the need to add to this list because I think people should be more aware this can happen. My mother has herniated disks (for some time) and been going to a man that does some chiropractic/massage technique. She ended up with shingles breaking out within 48 hours. He was working on her lower back quite rigorously because he thought it was also out of alignment and the rash appeared on her lower back and down to her leg. Coincidence? I think maybe his treatment caused or exacerbated existing nerve damage; activating the virus.  

Janet Browne wrote at 2015-07-28 07:25:08
It didn't cross my mind that my outbreak of shingles might be related to the deep tissue massage I had but now I think the massage could easily have released the virus. I have never had shingles before and it began exactly one week after a very deep massage on one side of neck and shoulder, I guess she treated the nerve which is now inflamed. I told my therapist but she didn't have anything to say about this. The shingles is really painful and unsightly so I won't be having this treatment again just in case it comes back.

Kristen wrote at 2015-09-20 22:57:56
Tina, I have been getting myofacial release treatments for an injury for 2 weeks now. I've had 4 treatments and was supposed to have my last treatment on Monday. But now I now have shingles in the exact spots that have been worked on. I am 33, very fit, very healthy and not stressed... Until now. I am in so much pain. I had chicken pox when I was 8. So, you are not alone.

I thought the initial pain I was feeling was from my doctor really getting into my sore spots but now I realize my skin was sensitive be I have shingles. I have blisters, a swollen groin lymph node and 6 patches of blisters.. One huge concentrated patch. It's miserable.  

Mr. Positive wrote at 2015-09-30 04:00:19
No one really knows what activates the shingles virus. Experts say a weakened immune system or stress. On a Saturday, I rubbed my shoulders firmly and deeply after a hike. Sunday, woke up with small vesicles on my inner thigh and knew exactly what was happening. I am 33 years old and this is my third outbreak of the year. After reading these posts, I believe there is a connection from massages to outbreaks. Who's to say that the shingles cause the need to massage. Its a chicken/egg thing.

Could use some more research in this but I think doctors are happy to see you come in to pay them the $100 for a visit just to give you a prescription for Valtrex when you already know you need it.

Try to stay active, try to stay positive. There's nothing else you can do once you got it.

Too Young For All of This wrote at 2016-02-21 04:41:03
I'm 37, just for the record.

We are moving and I'm quite stressed. I often carry stress in my upper back. I asked my husband to push really hard with his thumb where my back had a knot.

A few days later I broke out in that area and thought it was (b)acne. But then it spread to my upper arm, my skin was very irritated and I had a swollen lymph node on my neck on the same side. I self diagnosed shingles, after studying up on it.

I've heard of drinking water after a message to flush toxins out of your body released by the message. I wonder if that would help?  

sparkymi wrote at 2016-03-15 22:46:48
Thank you all for sharing your stories! I thought it was pretty coincidental that I broke out with an itchy rash one evening after having a deep tissue massage that morning, that's why I got online to see if the massage could have triggered it...and here is this forum with all of you who have experienced the same thing! Wow! I used to get massages almost twice a month and I had no side effects but it had been a year since I had gotten a massage so I figured I was overdue for one. The evening after the morning massage, I experienced itching on my back and assumed it was a reaction to the massage cream. The itching turned to painful burning prickles and I could hardly sleep that night.  The next day I had what I thought was hives all over the left side of my waist, 8 inches high and extending from my belly button to my spine. i took antihistamines and put coconut with Lavender oil on it to soothe the itching. The next day, a nurse friend looked at it and suggested that it looked like shingles. It has been somewhat red and uncomfortable all week. Now, 6 days later, it only slightly looks red and the intensity of the prickling has reduced but it still has a prickly itchiness - it kind of feels like the prickly dry skin you get from a sunburn. Who knew shingles was a possible side-effect of massage?  

Tom wrote at 2016-06-10 22:03:19
I had an unusually vigorous massage and a few days latter I got Shingles.  It seems intuitive that the rough massage may have stirred things up.

J wrote at 2016-06-27 13:38:14
I had a deep tissue massage two weeks ago and  the masseuse used her elbow to clear out a few knots on the back. I got shingles exactly three days after the massage which started with excruciating pain just above my left eye and rashes the following day. The blisters started to develop one day after the rashes which prompted me to see the doctor straight away. The GP diagnosed the outbreak as Shingles and was given anti viral medications which has controlled the outbreak to spread but the pain is really testing my patience. I got like three clusters of blisters on my back, two under my arm pit and four on the chest area and all on the left side. I am 35 and generally in good health with a good immune system. My job is not stressful so I can deduce the outbreak related to the deep tissue massage I had. Not sure if I will be going for a massage any time sooner.  

MarisaS wrote at 2016-07-06 05:42:23
Massages themselves don't cause shingles. I've had massages regularly over the course of my life, along with other natural treatments.  However, I do believe that when your body is immunocompromised due to illness or stress, it can make your body much more susceptible to any kind of natural treatments. Massage releases toxins in your body, one reason it is not recommended that you get a massage when you are already sick and the same reason the recommend you drink plenty of water after-to flush out the toxins.

Personally, I have been under tremendous stress lately and as a 38 year old woman, not a likely candidate for shingles. Well, I got a regularly scheduled massage 2 months ago and developed shingles later that day. Still not feeling well and under stress, though my shingles had been fully healed for over a month (I sought treatment the day I noticed a few blisters), I again got shingles.

So I do believe that massage can stimulate something about shingles. Since my massages were random, I didn't seek treatment for "pre-shingle pain"-I'm more prone to believe in the release of toxin, stress, immunocompromised theory.  

Remy wrote at 2016-08-05 02:21:43
I was right.  My massage caused shingles.  No more massage for me.  My chiropractor recommended them after my car wreck.  And now I'm really wrecked.  Ninety dollars in Dr. And med bills so far.  I am pissed.  I'm 55 years old and have a lazy co-worker I'm trying to cover work for.  Talk about stressed.  I need a raise....

No more massages for me wrote at 2016-12-09 03:30:03
I had a deep tissue massage that was very painful and then he also popped my back.  I experienced severe burning pain right when I got up from the massage in the middle of my back.  My pain kept increasing and I thought wow this guy did something really bad to my back and then I broke out in shingles right where the pain after the massage was.  I have no doubt that it triggered the shingles.  

Deb W wrote at 2016-12-28 20:12:56
I recently had a severe outbreak of shingles after a deep tissue massage. Within a day or two of the massage I had deep pain in the neck and shoulder area where the massage therapist worked and I thought it was a result of a too aggressive therapist- I should have told her to tone it down but figured it was releasing toxins and it MUST be good for me. A few days later my shingles appeared in the same area I had worked on. I just googled this question thinking I was probably foolish so was very surprised to see so many people respond with similar experiences!!


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I can answer questions regarding Swedish and Deep Tissue massage, Musculoskeletal Anatomy, SOAP Charting and documentation, Ethics, Myofascial Release, NeuroMuscular Therapy, Seated Chair Massage, and human anatomy & physiology. I cannot expertly answer questions about Eastern or allied modalities such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Reflexology, Polarity, Aromatherapy, or Reiki but I may be able to refer you to someone who can.


I have been practicing therapeutic massage and myofascial release for 8 years and have 5 years of experience as an instructor. I have worked in medical, corporate, spa, private, outdoor event, and educational settings.


Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), Certified NeuroMuscular Therapist (CNMT), Nationally Certified Massage Therapist (NCMT).

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