Speaking on behalf of bodyworkers everywhere, we all cringe when a client comes in and nonchalantly says, "I have a cold, but it's just a LITTLE cold," or "I have a cold but I'm NOT contagious."
FYI: There is no such thing as a "little" cold. You either have a cold or you don't. If you have a cold, you're contagious. That simple.
As a massage therapist, if I get a cold or the flu, I am ETHICALLY OBLIGATED to cancel all appointments and close my practice until I am no longer ill. This adds financial strain. Plus, during the incubation period, therapists may unwittingly infect other clients (even if they themselves do not become ill). Some clients with compromised immune systems can be severely affected by you passing your cold along. Elderly clients, those undergoing cancer treatment, persons with chronic respiratory illness or those with HIV/AIDS may not survive a bout with the flu or a simple cold. I can't emphasize how deadly serious this situation can be. Remember, I see a lot of pregnant clients as well, and work with infants (and families) teaching infant massage.
I also have my family (young children, like my infant, especially) to think about. If they get sick from a cold/flu passed along through me, I will still have to cancel and close my practice to care for them. Have you ever had a sick child have to stay home from school because they caught something from another child? Or have you ever gotten sick yourself, because of a coworker refusing to take a sick day? It kinda sucks.
Do everyone, including yourself, a favor. Reschedule your appointment for a later date when you've had time to fully recover. Same goes for your yoga and Pilates classes, gym workouts, and your early morning fitness bootcamp. Skip 'em. Keep your germs to yourself.
Besides the obvious concerns above, there are other things to consider when you engage in any activity that boosts your circulation while you're ill. Whether receiving a massage or working out, the sudden increase in blood and lymphatic circulation can push a cold or flu infection into the heart. While this seldom occurs, it's a real possibility and is almost always fatal.
Lastly, receiving bodywork when you have a cold may seem like it would be helpful to flush it out of your system quicker, but is not going to make you feel better. If anything, it may make you feel worse. Neither you nor I want that to happen! Best course of action is to rest and stay home.
When it comes to colds and flu, call and cancel. Everyone will thank you for it.
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