Can You Get a Massage If You Have Psoriasis?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Stress is a common psoriasis trigger. It can also negatively affect your mental and physical health in other ways. That’s why taking steps to limit stress is important.

Massage therapy is one strategy that people sometimes use to relieve stress. Massage can help ease muscle aches and tension while promoting relaxation.

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Massage may also help reduce pain or stiffness associated with psoriatic arthritis (PsA), which affects about 30 percent of people with psoriasis.

Read on to learn how you can protect your skin while getting a massage.

What is massage?

In massage, pressure is applied to skin, muscles, and other soft tissues to help stretch and loosen them.

Depending on the specific type of massage, different motions or techniques may be used to apply gentle to deep pressure to targeted parts of your body.

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For example, a massage therapist may rub, press, stroke, knead, vibrate, or tap on your skin and muscles. You can also apply these techniques to your own body in self-massage.

Many people with psoriasis can safely get a massage. However, you may need to take some special precautions to protect your skin.

Talk to your doctor to learn if massage is a safe choice for you.

Communicate with your massage therapist

Before you book a massage appointment, consider asking the massage therapist about their qualifications and experience:

  • Are they licensed, certified, or registered to practice massage therapy?
  • What training and experience do they have?
  • Have they ever worked with clients who have psoriasis?
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Let the massage therapist know about your psoriasis and any other health conditions you may have, such as PsA.

If they’re not familiar with psoriasis, you might prefer to find another therapist who has knowledge and experience with this condition.

A well-trained and experienced massage therapist can adjust the products, techniques, and amount of pressure they apply during your massage to help meet your health needs and preferences.

Your massage therapist should avoid applying pressure to areas of skin that are inflamed or broken. If you have PsA, they should also be gentle around any inflamed joints.

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If you feel any pain or discomfort during your massage, let your massage therapist know.

Avoid irritating oils and lotions

Massage therapists often apply oils or lotions to the skin before massaging it. This helps to reduce friction.

Before you get a massage, ask your therapist what type of oils or lotions they use.

Many oils and lotions may help soften psoriasis plaques and moisturize dry skin. However, some products may irritate your skin.

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If there are certain oils or lotions that you prefer to use, consider bringing them to your massage appointment.

You may also ask your doctor if there are any products they recommend using during a massage or on a regular basis.

Learn if massage is covered by your insurance

The cost of massage can vary widely, depending on:

  • which massage therapist you visit
  • what type of massage you get
  • how long the massage session lasts
  • whether you have health insurance coverage for massage

If you have health insurance, consider contacting your insurance provider to find out if your plan provides coverage for massage.

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If your insurance plan covers massage, your insurance provider might require you to visit certain massage therapists who are in your insurance network.

They may also require you to get a referral to the massage therapist from your doctor.

The takeaway

When you’re feeling sore, tense, or stressed out, massage may help soothe your muscles and your mind.

To learn about the potential benefits and risks of massage, talk to your doctor. They can help you weigh the pros and cons of this stress-relieving treatment.

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Before you make an appointment with a new massage therapist, let them know that you have psoriasis.

It’s important for them to avoid applying pressure to inflamed skin or joints. You can also ask them to use or avoid certain oils or lotions, depending on your needs and preferences.

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