Should you feel guilty getting a massage? 1

Sometimes when I am talking to a client and discussing how long it has been since their last massage, or when they want to set up their next one, they hesitate before responding.  They tell me that they feel guilty about getting their massage.  It’s not because anything inappropriate happens during their appointment, or that massage itself is a bad thing.  They are people who give of themselves a lot and feel like they could be using this time and money to be doing something for somebody else.

Guilt implies that something wrong has been done.  Perhaps, but not necessarily, something illegal or unethical.  People feel guilty when they believe they have done something that they knew they shouldn’t have.

Massage helps you to be unburdened from stress you have been dealing with.  It helps to relieve the physical pain brought on by stress, overuse of muscles, an injury or a medical condition.  The clamp around your head is loosened and your headache goes away.  You are able to turn your neck or bend your back without screeching pain.  Your mind gets a break and you get a new outlook on the issues you are facing, and solutions come a little easier.

Is there something wrong with any of that?

The people who discuss the idea of feeling guilty are usually those who are caring for others.  They are caring for family members, such as their children or a parent.  Some are helping a friend, a cause, or an organization make it through a difficult time or a big project.

If you are caring for somebody else much is being asked of you.  You are doing a lot of giving.  You can only give so much without the source being replenished.  Make the time to get yourself taken care of.  When you are well you will be able to continue with the care you are providing.  The quality of your care, and your life, will greatly improve.  You may find yourself with increased energy or have more patience and tolerance when you feel good and are not worn down.

Airlines instruct their passengers that in case of an emergency to put their own oxygen mask on first, then to care for others.  It is good and beneficial to take care of yourself.  It doesn’t mean you are selfish, but it lets you recharge and restock your reserves to continue to assist those you care about.  The people you are helping know you occasionally need some time to yourself, so enjoy your massage free from guilt.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at

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One thought on “Should you feel guilty getting a massage?

  • Sumeet Nathani

    I think the only time someone should feel guilty getting a massage is if someone else is paying for the massage for them, and they dont really need it. If they are not injured, or stressed etc and are having a massage paid for, then I understand why they would feel guilty. Other than what I just mentioned I would say lay back and enjoy the massage!