Can You Massage A Bruise Away?

What Should You Do About That Nasty Blue Mark On Your Leg!?

It’s Monday and you have a late night game in the deep south against the league toppers. If you win this one, you actually have a realistic chance to make it to the finals! Your focus is locked in 100%, you’re ready to give it your all, and your game is on point!

Then comes a nasty challenge. Just like you, the center back is out to take no prisoners! Alas, you get taken out.

But because you’re such a champ, you hunker down and keep pushing onward. 60 minutes later you have the bragging rights (and some free t-shirts from the league for making the finals!). Not to mention a nasty bruise about 2 inches in diameter all around your quads. Some might even call it a victory mark!

But this pesky thing is starting to annoy you because it’s summer time and that means it’s shorts time!

Jokes aside, welcome to yet another blog post! Today’s topic is centered on massage and bruising. The intent of this post is to answer the question: can massaging a bruise make it heal and disappear? Let’s look at this in greater detail!

Should You Massage A Bruise
Should You Massage A Bruise (My Bruise By David Sikes CC BY 2.0)

 

Does Massaging A Bruise Make It Heal Quicker?

There’s a lot of myths and misconceptions around massage and this is one of them. Before we can fully understand if massaging a bruise will heal it, we need to first understand just what the heck a bruise is!

What is a bruise? What happens to your body when it gets bruised?

Bruises typically happen when an area of your body is subjected to some degree of trauma. That being said, bruises are a pretty common occurrence, as it really doesn’t take much to get bruised!

So why the blackish blue mark? According to healthline, the blue marks are a result of the bursting of tiny blood vessels called capillaries. When these burst, they leak blood and this blood is what gets trapped underneath the skin’s surface. This is what gives a bruise it’s darkish blue color.

The Darkish Blue Color Is Characteristic Of A Bruise!
The Darkish Blue Color Is Characteristic Of A Bruise! (Bruised Knee By Tracy O CC BY-SA 2.0)

What do you think? Based on what we know about bruises thus far, do you think it would be smart to massage them?

If you answered no, i’m glad to say we’re on the same page! But let’s look at this in some more detail…..that is what are some of the reasons for not massaging a bruise?

 

3 Reasons Why You Should Not Massage A Bruised Area Of The Body!

#1 You Could Inadvertently End Up Doing More Damage!

Earlier we talked about how bruising is essentially the bursting and leaking of these small blood vessels called capillaries. The body’s immune response is to clot or block the blood leakage by sending in platelets along with other substances to the affected site.

In essence the body is doing what it can to best minimize the damage. Let this be a reminder in case it was forgotten, the human body is the most smartest machine on the planet!

Side Note: If you’re interested in learning more about “wound healing” and how the body responds to wounds, here’s an interesting write-up on Wikipedia that’s worth checking out.

Now imagine you decide to intervene! Because somewhere online you read that massaging a bruise might actually make it heal quicker!

By massaging and putting pressure on the area, you might inadvertently cause more damage to the already affected capillaries. In essence you could end up causing more bleeding and therefore more bruising as a result of massage.

#2 Because It’s Considered “Contraindication” In The Field Of Massage Therapy!

First things first, what the heck is contraindication? I like the definition presented on Study.com, so i’m gonna paraphrase it here:

According to Study.com, a contraindication in massage is a reason that a massage therapist would refuse to massage a client, because doing so may result in harm to the patient.

Bruising fits the definition of local contraindication in that it’s only a specific local area of the body that cannot be massaged. The other areas of the body are still fine to massage. What are some other examples of local contraindications?

Un-diagnosed Lumps
Protrusions & Open Cuts
Severely Damaged Skin

Why am I telling you all this massage therapy jargon!?

Well it basically comes down to “what would the pros do”? In other words, what would a trained massage therapist do given the same situation.

If a trained therapist refuses to massage a bruised area, then it only makes sense that me/you should refrain from doing so also!

If you choose to go against this then of course you are forgoing the risks and dangers of causing additional bodily harm.

#3 Because It Might Hurt…In Some Cases A Lot!

Some bruises are nothing more than an icky looking scar, while others are sensitive to the touch and can actually hurt quite a bit!

Common sense would dictate that if a part of my body is hurting, it’s probably wise to not disturb it and cause myself more pain!

Whenever I’ve been bruised, my skin is always super sensitive and touching it is painful! Then again, the argument can be made that everyone’s body is different. You know your body best, so make the right call!

 

But Doesn’t Massage Promote Blood Circulation In The Bruised & Affected Area?

There is of course the counter argument to the 3 points above in that massage may actually promote healing by improving blood circulation in the affected area. Is this actually true?

Massage Is Known To Improve Blood Circulation
Massage Is Known To Improve Blood Circulation

Yes there might be some minor benefits to massaging a bruised area, but if you ask me, the negatives far outweigh the positives!

This is the very reason I recommend not massaging a bruise. It makes way more sense to leave it be so that it heals completely! Once it’s fully healed, then nothing is stopping you from massaging.

 

An Important Disclaimer/Reminder!

I’ve said it before on my blogs, but i’ll say it again: I am not a medical professional, nor am I a massage therapist. I’m just an average Joe who happens to love massage! That being said, the advice provided in this post should be considered as informational, and nothing else.

A lot of this stuff is all common sense if you ask me. If you give it a little bit of thought, i’m certain you’ll come to the right conclusion!

Alright folks, i’m signing off. If you have any specific questions about bruising and massage, please drop a comment below. Lastly, please consider sharing this post on the socials if you enjoyed reading!

About Eve

Just an average bloke intrigued by massage and its incredible benefits. Oh, did I mention I also own a massage chair? More on that in the blog posts!

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