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I always get a stuffy nose when I’m laying face down while getting a massage – why does this happen?

0 votes
asked Feb 17, 2014 by anonymous
The temperature inside the room may not be warm enough for your body or you don't have enough cover.
I have found tilting the forehead end of the face cradle down a bit more helps the sinuses to remain open.

2 Answers

0 votes
Honestly only a Dr. Can give you an exact reason due to your own structural make up, but most likely it has to do with pressure on your face in the location of your sinus cavities. Improper positioning can cause this to be exacerbated, you want to be certain you are up far enough that the bridge of your nose is touching the face cradle. An essential oil baring any alergies can also help keep your passages open: my personal favorites are eucalyptis, rosemary or peppermint! Hope this helps!
answered Feb 20, 2014 by Ms. Melinda Shodin, LMT, CMT (140 points)
Whenever you get a massage it releases toxins from your body and also stimulates your lymphatic system. This is your body's way of getting rid of toxins. Drinking plenty of water before and after a massage will facilitate the flushing of toxins from your body and strengthening your immune system.
There has been no information or studies that say massage releases toxins. In fact it creates them.
There are no toxins released, much less coming out through your nose. About 50% of my patients will experience a runny nose, which is a result of the positioning of the body prone, or face down, for an extended period of time with pressure on the sinuses and face. Usually a pillow is placed under the abdomen to support the low back while lying this way, creating a slight slope from the middle of the body to the head.
Video about the myth of toxins:
And an article about toxins and massage:

RMT in Ontario, Canada
this comment about toxins has absolutely nothing to the original concern of a runny nose during massage. Just because you may something true doesn't mean you've made a point
0 votes
There are 2 reasons for this reaction that I am aware of.

Massage stimulates histamine release in the body and one of the effects is that it increses the amount of fluid in the sinuses.

Also, have you ever noticed that when lying in bed, if you are lying on your right side, your right nostril closes and the left one opens up?  This is due to gravity and with the additional fluid in the nasal cavity caused by the histamine release, results in a stuffy or even runny nose when lying face down during a massage with or without the face cradle.

As mentioned, use of essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint on a tissue and  either sniffed after the massage or tucked under the face rest cover can prevent or clear it up.  If that is not enough, a hot steamy shower or bath after your massage usually will.  Because of the detoxifying effect massage has on the body, we recommend that everyone drinks plenty of water following a massage to flush out the toxins. I also recommend a nice hot 15-20 minute bath in epsom salts  especially if you tend to be sore afterwards.  Both of these will aid in gettign rid of the stuffiness.
answered Feb 22, 2014 by Angela Joplin, LMBT (220 points)
edited Feb 22, 2014 by Angela Joplin, LMBT
Yes, I agree with the gravity influence, as has been evident with myself...I also believe that the face cradle may be pressing on trigger points that may cause drainage/release of stuffyness...