Have a cold? Go get a massage!!! or, I am filled with snot and grrrrrrr

So, my allergies have been pretty bad today. I’ve been feeling fairly crappy, and since I got home from work today, crappier by the hour. Then, finally, it hit me. It’s not allergies. I have a cold. Worse, I have a summer cold. I hate summer colds with a mighty passion.

Not really sure where I got it, but I’d say it’s an odds-on bet that I picked it up from a client. I am frankly stunned by the number of people who will get a massage when they know they are carrying some vile pestilence. Usually they will tell me sometime about forty-five minutes into a fifty-five minute massage. Whoever gave me this thing kept their mouth shut, but happily and silently shared their plague germs with me.

Yep, some assgasket thought, “Hmmm. I have a cough and some vile greeninsh-yellow substance leaking from my nose. I think I’ll take some medication to suppress my symptoms, go somewhere, get naked, come into the most intimate contact you can come into with someone without actually having sex with them, and then that someone can unknowingly spread my disease to others. Yeah, that’s a good way to spend an hour.”

Now, I’m very diligent about washing my hands before and after working on every client, but, dammit, sometimes I need to scratch my nose or brush a stray hair from my eye, thus granting entry to any stray virii that may happen to be around.
Listen, you putrid excresence exuding from a festering pustule on Satan’s sweaty ballsack. If you’re sick, freaking stay home. Do not go get a freaking massage, thereby exposing someone to your pestilential passengers who may spread them to several other people before she realizes she’s coming down with something.

Crap. I now feel ethically bound to call off sick tomorrow, and take myself off call Monday, rather than share my newly-acquired respiratory infection with potential clients. Yeah, I can financially afford it, but it will make things pretty tight for the next week or so. I’m going to be out probably two hundred bucks because some anal-fornicating dildo-head decided it would be a really neat idea to go get a massage when they were sick. Not to mention all the clients I’ve worked on in the past couple of days, who I’ve shared air with at close quarters, touched, possibly after touching my nose at some point, who may now be starting to notice that their allergies are really bad today…

Grrrrrrr :mad:

Do cold germs generally reside across the body’s surface? Maybe you can have your clients wash their hands before you start the massage?

I hear you, Asbestos Mango.

Otto, a massage can be filled with unintentional fluid exchange. Being face down in a face cradle tends to make the nose run. The client surreptisiously wipes his nose with a hand, touches his arm, and two minutes later I touch that arm with hands covered in massage oil. Then, as **TAM **posits, I brush a hair away from my eye or mouth with the back of that same hand. Thanks to the oil, the virus has had a wonderful fluid environment to wander all over my hand in.

A sneeze onto the sheets, drool onto my face cradle cover (yes, they often drool) - there’s all sorts of opportunities. That’s why we clean the table with alcohol and a spray disinfectant between each client. Still can’t eliminate the possibility, though.

If this doesn’t convince people, let me just add that our textbooks all state (I don’t know if this is based on studies or anecdotal evidence) that clients who get massage during a head or chest cold find they get worse. I don’t know what the mechanism is, but getting a massage may make you feel better for an hour, but your cold with be worse in the long run. So be a selfish bastard: don’t get a massage if you think you’re coming down with something!

Of course, if you can be spreading germs before you realize it, the customer can too. It sort of sounds like you expect your customers to somehow realize they don’t just have allergies quicker than you can.

I agree! Grr! I hate it when my patients show up in the PT clinic sick. At least I can catch some of them when they decline their theraputic exercise, " I can’t do that today, I have a fever, I just think the hot pack and stuff will make me feel better".
I am NOT putting a big 'ol hot pack on someone with an acute infection, you wing nut! You could pass out, the increase in circulation could encourage germs to catch a free ride to your heart valves, or you could decide now is the time to develop a whole new range symptoms.
You don’t belong in the PT clinic if you are a fulminating contagion. Frail elderly people come here too, and an infection that just makes me all crabby can knock them to hell and gone. Go see your family Doctor if you want to feel better. Or try the Polish Hat Cure. Massage and modalities will not help.

Mebbe, just as likely not. If you read the OP, a lot, and I mean a freaking lot of people will come in knowing they have a cold, and even tell me after I’ve been working on them for quite a while- like, when the massage is nearly over. It’s as much a generalized rant at people who will knowingly expose someone to contagion as it is against the person who actually gave me the freaking cold.
If they would tell me before I began the massage, then I would simply refuse to work on them. I’ve turned away many a client who told me over the phone, “I’m just getting over X”. One time, it was strep throat. Not only did I refuse to book the guy, I called our other location to give them a heads-up. No, you don’t get a massage when you’re just getting over something.You get a massage a good few days to a week after you’re completely over it, so you’re sure you’re not still shedding virus.

I thoroughly clean my table and face rest between clients, so somebody picking up a bug through contact with my table and equipment is extremely unlikely, but I was probably shedding virus yesterday while I was working. I feel really bad that I’ve exposed my clients, and hope that they don’t actually catch this thing.

If someone calls you before an appointment (almost certainly less that 24hrs prior) and says, “Hey, I think I’m coming down with something, can we reschedule?”, do you still charge them for their appointment? (That goes for you too, conurepete– with the added question of just how long is the wait to reschedule?)

I’ve gotten way, way too many colds from my massage therapist roommate bringing them home. I am totally with you, as long as you’d actually let people cancel without penalty.

Nah. Hell, we don’t even charge for no-shows, (though I wish we would, I probably lose about $300 per month from people who will call, schedule a massage for two hours later, then not show up for it.) Really we only ask for three hours advance notice for a cancellation, most clients call and want to schedule for the same day. Hell, I get calls a half hour before closing wanting to schedule for the same day.


I don’t charge the first time or two. Everyone gets a free cancellation from me, 'cause I do understand that things come up (I work privately, so I don’t have any spa or salon rules to worry about.) If it becomes an obvious ploy to get out of paying so you can fuck with my schedule at will, then I’m very likely to say, “I understand that your time is important, but so is mine, and I really need 24 hours notice to fill that spot so I can make enough money to eat.” This tends to make the time-wasters not reschedule, and lets me cut more slack to the truly needy. I have lots of repeat clients, and I learn pretty quick who respects my time and who doesn’t. If you’re generally respectful, I’m more likely to be respectful of your wallet in return.

I just gotta ask. Huh?

The Polish Hat Cure is an old folk remedy.

  1. lay down on bed
  2. put hat on bedpost
  3. drink vodka until you see 2 hats.

This will not make your cold go away, but you won’t care, either. It also keeps you from going out and spreading contagion.

My clinic is WAY liberal about calling to cancel and/or reschedule. We don’t charge, and will reschedule at any time to any reasonable hour. You get less slack on the reschedule if you have a habit of absuing this policy. The wait time depends on why you are missing, and serious illness does require an okay from a Doctor. You would think we would not need that, but people will want to come right back after emergency surgery, TIA’s, catr accidents, etc.

Mini hijack : Asbestos Mango, I have placed a MPSIMS thread to talk about parrots with you. End mini hijack

Get that sucker checked out. I thought I was just having allergies, and then just a mild case of swollen glands (my sister always got ear aches, I always got swollen glands - it’s how it manifests when I get sick). That was the Friday before the Fourth of July weekend, when BF asked if I should go to doctor and I dissuaded him, thinking again, simply, that it was a light swollen glands thing and I would be over it in a day. Cut to one day later with a 102 fever, chills, sore throat so bad I can’t stand it like swallowing razors, etc. And, since it’s the holiday weekend, I couldn’t do anything until Tuesday.

Doc saw me, looked in my throat and said, “Oh, jeeze…there’s so much white crap back there…let’s just get you filled with penicillin.” Still have a sore throat, but at least I am functional now. No idea how I picked it up, but man, it slammed me - if you suspect it might not be allergies, please see a doc - summer colds can be more than what you expect. And five days in bed, delirious, sweating, dehydrated cause it hurt too much to swallow and no strength to even hold a book to read is enough to convince me that the next time BF suggests a doc, I’ll take him up on it. Even if it turns out to be nothing.

Best of luck.


Besides the germ-sharing, there’s also the fact that getting a massage while you’re sick makes you feel like shit on a cracker in the moonlight . . . with maggots!

I had a massage therapist friend who, when I complained that I thought I was coming down with something, urged me to let her give me a massage. (She, too, worked out of her home, and went to massage school mostly out of a desire to learn massage; she wasn’t in it for the money, and so mostly gave massages to friends, on a sporadic basis, for like 15 or 20 bucks a pop when she needed extra cash. It was all very casual and informal; her house was a wreck and her cat would sleep on your ass while she worked on you. But I digress.) She said it would make the “something” go away faster.

Oh. My. God. I thought I was dying.

I actually cancelled an upcoming little trip I was taking, because I didn’t want to go dying away from home.

Honey, never again.

auntie em, you’re right. She was an idiot - or at least unschooled. (See! I knew there was a reason I studied this shit!) See my post above re: getting a massage when you’re sick or coming down with something makes you feel worse, and how this is covered in every introduction to massage textbook.

Oh, oops! I would have read more carefully, but this whole thread got me thinking, "Mmmmmm . . . massahhhhhhge . . . " and I lost concentration. :smiley:

FWIW, I’m not sick right now. :slight_smile:

Oh, and when I mentioned how shitty I felt to her later, she acknowledged that getting the massage while sick does intensify one’s symptoms (whiiiiiich she neglected to mention originally), but insisted that I’d be over it faster.

Hmph. Give me a lengthy annoyance over brief torture any day.

There is actually a school of thought that states that if you’re coming down with a cold, you should get a massage, because you will feel like shit on toast for a couple of days, but you’ll get over it faster. The theory is that it gives your immune system a temporary boost by increasing blood flow in the body tissues, so white blood cells that are hanging out in your calf muscles doing nothing particularly useful get moved around the body and find their way up to the respiratory tract where they can do their freaking jobs (symptoms of any illness are actually the result of immune function- fever is the body trying to cook the little germies to death, snot is the body increasing mucus production to try to flush them out your nose, etc.)

The head of the massage program I attended actually told the class he gets massage when he feels a cold coming on for just this reason. At first I thought it was a cool idea, then I thought, “waitaminnit, you’re intentionally exposing someone else to your cold so you can get over it faster? and what about the people the therapist may be spreading your germs to before she realizes that it isn’t just her allergies acting up?”

The same guy who taught us the we should not work when we’re sick because it was a bad idea to share germs with clients. I wish I would have had the ovarios to say something right there in class.

I’m actually feeling better today. As soon as I realized that I was, in fact, coming down with a cold, I started dosing myself heavily with Vitamin C and echinacea, and sucking zinc lozenges. Yesterday, well, I wasn’t any worse, and today, I’m feeling a definite betterward trend.

:eek: :eek:

Mango, I stand in awe of your verbal skills and imagination!

Oh, dear OG, was she one of those “detoxify” paranoids? Don’t get me started. I’m a wacky woo-woo herbalist and alternative medicine practitioner myself, but if I hear one more “detox” or “parasites” I’m just gonna ram a bunch of tapeworms wrapped around lead pellets down someone’s gullet and let them go “purge their toxins” for a bit.

pant, pant

(Sorry, and my apologies to any true parasite infested or toxically poisoned people out there. But there’s a bunch of nutjobs stealing your glory and making me think you’re delusional when you really need help.)

No, it won’t help you get over a cold faster. What it may do is encourage any bacteria which are a little more overgrown than normal ('cause you’re immune system’s distracted with this virus) to decide to try and make a run for the heart valve, or the lungs, or even the blood. It will almost certainly increase your circulation enough to spread the viruses further around your system, which means more work for your white blood cells to go mop 'em up. It will (being head down in a face cradle will) definitely make your head feel like a cabbage for two days from the extra pressure on the sinuses.

Even according to Chinese Medicine, it will make things worse. It will open the Wei Qi (surface immunity) to lets all sort of Xiue Qi (“pernicious influences” - BAND NAME!) in, and it will drive any wind invasion, heat or cold or stagnant qi deeper into the body - which is always, always bad.