Older woman laying down on a white chair with coats and shoes around and light beige carpet and a white book stand in the background

Autoimmune diseases are on the rise worldwide. Going through an autoimmune flare-up can cause a wide range of unpleasant symptoms. If you are going through an autoimmune flare-up it may be worth considering how you can utilize massage to help calm and heal from your autoimmune flare-up.

In general, massage can be helpful for autoimmune flare-ups because it relaxes the nervous system, lowers inflammation, moves lymphatic fluid, improves circulation, improves joint mobility, increases the quality of sleep, and increases levels of hormones that make us feel happy and numb pain signals.

If you’re wondering how massage could possibly calm down an autoimmune flare-up then I will give you some facts to consider if it might be worth experimenting with.

Calm Inflammation With Massage

Massage is famous for its ability to calm the body and the mind. Interestingly, these are the two things often overlooked when it comes to autoimmunity and flare-ups. We still don’t know what really causes autoimmunity but reoccurring negative emotions have come more into the spotlight. There is a definite link between all the different cases of autoimmunity and past trauma(s) of the individual. Trauma causes negative emotions that cause the prolonged heightened release of stress hormones such as Cortisol. Cortisol left unchecked can wreak havoc inside the body causing a state of inflammation.

Many of us who have had an autoimmune disease for a while now may have noticed how a flare-up usually occurs after a period of stress, sadness, anger, anxiety, or fear. Cortisol and other stress hormones are not only released during emotional stress but also after physical stress or exertion. Our bandwidth for emotional and physical stress is just lower than those without an autoimmune disease.

Massage has been proven to lower states of stress, which lowers inflammation, and can help us to recover from a flare-up. One aspect of this is that just about all massage, not just manual lymphatic drainage, moves lymph fluid. The lymphatic system is what carries wastes out of our tissues and to the elimination organs so they can be disposed of. Lymph cannot move by itself so it has to be done by massage or exercise.

When you receive a massage you receive a nurturing touch from a human which helps us to pivot into your parasympathetic nervous system and releases calming hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. These hormones are released by the brain and go throughout the body’s tissues which tell it to feel calm, happy, and serene. This is a natural way to stop the process of inflammation that happens during a flare-up.

Decrease Pain and Fatigue During a Flare-Up

When we are in an autoimmune flare-up we may be prone to laying in bed or the couch a lot more than usual because we feel an increase in pain and fatigue. The fatigue can be so great that it feels like your body is just a giant bag of potatoes that takes so much effort to move and when you do, it hurts. What’s worse is the more we lay around the more stiff and achy we can feel. It’s a catch-22.

Massage increases blood circulation within the muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and organs. This blood carries away waste and toxins that could be making us feel pain and fatigue from the inflammation they cause. It also carries nutrients for these tissues to take in and heal. This process lowers inflammation but increases energy at the same time! Woohoo!!!

Reducing the amount of high inflammation in the body that occurs during a flare-up is critical to healing. Massage also gets you out of your mind and into your body. I’ve had clients that had high levels of anxiety and monkey brain happening, fall fast asleep on the table. The ability that massage has to create a state of bliss is amazing!

Ridding the muscles and tissues of tension and trigger points can eliminate the pain and fatigue they cause. Trigger points are little “balls” of trapped energy that contain hormones that are necessary for a muscle to contract. We don’t want these hanging around any longer than necessary because over time they can cause more and more inflammation.

Improve Sleep to Recover Faster from a Flare-Up

I think we all know now how important sleep really is. It is even now a common question medical doctors will ask, especially if you have an autoimmune disease. The quantity of sleep is important but not as important as the quality of sleep. Have you ever woken up from a nap or night’s rest and wondered “What day is it…”? This is a good indicator that you have achieved REM sleep. REM or rapid eye movement state of sleep is when your body does most of the good it does during sleep. In this state, it repairs cell damage, eliminates wastes, regulates mood, and files away information in the brain.

Insomnia is another mental disorder closely linked to autoimmune disease. Many people with autoimmune diseases report difficulty with sleep. This lets us know that autoimmune disease is NOT just a physical disease but it also has to do with the mind. Anxiety disorders could be a factor in someone having insomnia.

Since massage takes you from a flight or fight state to a rest and relax state it works wonderfully at improving the quality of sleep. Just about EVERYONE I know, including myself, reports ecstatically how they had the BEST NIGHT OF SLEEP after receiving a massage. When we receive a massage we are allowing our body and mind to finally relax and for the elimination of inflammation-producing waste products to take place. This makes getting a massage during an autoimmune flare-up a MUST, if not just for the improved quality of sleep alone.

Massage is a great way to calm your body during an autoimmune flare-up. It eliminates excesses of stress hormones and cellular waste and increases feel-good hormones and cellular repair. Next time you suffer from an autoimmune flare-up try massage. It can be from a Professional Massage Therapist or it could be from yourself, or a friend, or you can try a massage gun! ( affiliate link)

I personally suffer from both an autoimmune disorder and insomnia and I would be lost without the help of massage. I own and regularly use a massage gun, massage cups, gua sha, and dry bristle brush for lymphatic drainage, and perform self-massage, acupressure, and aromatherapy.

There’s a lot that goes into managing an autoimmune disorder. I hope this will give you a good reason or excuse to try massage to help manage your autoimmune flare-ups.

This article was written by and is the intellectual property of If this article appears anywhere else on the internet it was stolen from the copyright owner.


The content in this article is for informational, entertainment, and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a trained qualified physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Galeano Massage nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, or supplements or those diagnosed with a medical illness should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program


I've been practicing Massage Therapy since 2014. I'm a health and wellness enthusiast. I'm always learning and experimenting with different techniques, recipes, and healing modalities. I believe that we need to approach health and wellness from a WHOLE-listic point of view and understand that it will constantly be changing and is never stagnant. We are all unique and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another person. As I grow, change, and experiment I will share what I have learned as it may help someone else in need.

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts