Can Massage Reduce Lyme Disease’s Painful Symptoms?

Approximately 300,000 people contract Lyme Disease in the United States each year. Lyme disease plagues victims with a wide range of unpleasant symptoms. But, is it possible massage therapy can help ease the symptoms of Lyme disease? Keep reading to find the benefits and tips for getting a massage to relieve the symptoms of Lyme disease.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • body aches
  • headache
  • neck stiffness
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • rash

Lyme Disease Cause

Lyme Disease is a chronic illness caused by a bacterium carried by black-legged ticks and transmitted by their bite. The tick will attach itself to a person unknowingly. According to the Centers for Disease control, if the tick is attached for >36 hours without removal, the chance of the bacteria infecting a person is high. Ticks often attached themselves to hard-to-see areas, such as the armpits or groin.

Backlogged Tick Sizes (source:
Backlogged Tick Sizes (source:

Quick treatment of Lyme disease with antibiotics is imperative. If antibiotics are not promptly administered, joint pain develops ins more than half of people.

If the infection spreads to the nerves or heart, it can lead to the development of:

Prevention of Lyme Disease

Those spending a lot of time outdoors are highest at risk. It’s crucial to thoroughly check your body if spending a lot of time outdoors in a high-risk area. Ticks found within 48 hours typically do not have time to fully infect you.

Prevention methods include:

  • Cover exposed skin and tuck pant legs into socks
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET
  • Check your entire body after spending time in a high-tick infested area
  • If you find any ticks, use a tweezer to immediately remove them from your body

Can Massage Therapy Help with Lyme Disease Symptom Relief?

There are numerous benefits of massage therapy for many people. These include increased relaxation, stress lowering, pain reduction, circulation boost, immune function improvement, and energy.

In a case study conducted by the University of Wisconsin and published in the International Journal of Massage Bodywork, the effects of massage therapy on Lyme disease could help provide relief from pain. The patient studied found improved overall well-being and decreased pain after the massage.

Follow these tips for using Massage Therapy to relieve Lyme Disease Symptoms: 

  • Ask for a Swedish massage; light touches are best. A Deep Tissue may cause an increase in symptoms.
  • Talk to your therapist before starting the massage. Have open communication on what feels right and what is causing pain.
  • If you find the massage helped reduce pain, schedule a weekly or biweekly massage with your therapist.

While a massage will not cure Lyme disease, it may be beneficial for easing symptoms. If you find a massage helps reduce your pain, schedule a weekly or biweekly massage with a licensed therapist.

To learn about how massage therapy can help with other conditions, check out my article on Endometriosis and massage therapy.

Tips for using Massage Therapy to relieve Lyme Disease symptoms
Tips for using Massage Therapy to relieve Lyme Disease symptoms