Is it okay to fall asleep during a massage?

                  It’s been a long week. You’re tired, achey, and you’ve neglected yourself for far too long for the sake of ‘fill in the blank’. (Viable options might be kids, spouse, elderly parents, job, second job…) And NOW, you have finally made it to your massage appointment! Cue beaming lights and singing angels.The room is dim, the table is warm, and someone is going to not only pay attention to you and only you for one whole glorious hour, (or longer if you’re smart) but they are also going to move muscles and manipulate tissue to relieve your tired and aching body. Sigh of major relief.  Can’t you just see yourself on the table now??

Fast forward past the small talk with therapist, and residual thoughts lingering in your head, to a time in the massage where everything is floaty. Time ceases to exist. Your eyelids are heavy and you mouth starts to hang open a bit. Bliss… Until you are suddenly and very rudely interrupted by the sound of your OWN SNORE! You jolt a little. Do a mental check for drool, and then proceed to completely ruin your own relaxation out of sheer embarrassment. “How long have I been out?”, “Was my snoring loud?”, “I wonder if she heard it…wait, I snore?!”, “It must have been a dream.” You then decide to pretend it didn’t happen, and do your very best to stay awake for the remainder of the massage because you paid for this and you’re going to enjoy it gosh darn it!  But, you fail and the whole process starts again.

Let me help you avoid this non-problem by saying that 1. It is perfectly okay and safe to fall asleep during your massage. So cut it out. You’re creating your own conundrum and sabotaging your own “me” time with a worry that you don’t need to have.  As a therapist myself, I take it as a compliment that my demeanor is warm enough, and my treatment skilled enough that you feel comfortable to drift off.  It takes much more than a little snoring to offend a trained professional and you obviously need the rest anyway. Might as well catch a few zzz’s on the table and wake up feeling refreshed.

And 2. If you fall asleep, it won’t be a waste. Your nervous system still regulates. Your cortisol levels still drop. Your muscle tissue and ligaments still soften, release, and let go. The manipulation of joints still gives way to more space, and the lymphatic and circulatory systems are still stimulated. No promises you won’t feel disappointed that you have no memory of the massage, but rest assured all the glorious benefits are still reaped by physical, emotional, and mental states. And with the right treatment, and the right therapist, you should wake up feeling like a new you. Like someone has pressed the reset button.

So give yourself permission to let go, and drift to sleep if the sandman comes a-knockin’. You’ll be gently woken when the treatment is over. In the meantime, I’ll be here, on the other side, taking care of the rest of you.

  • Guest

    I mostly drift off when I go for my massage therapy at Toronto . This is the time I feel most relaxed and fall fast asleep. This helps me start afresh and get a feeling of well being. But I was always doubtful about this habit that I used to ask my therapist about it. Though he assures me its good to fall asleep, I still had my doubts. By reading your article am all the more relieved now.

  • Anne Alexander

    I mostly drift off when I go for my massage therapy at Athletic Edge Sports Medicine (Toronto) . This is the time I feel most relaxed and fall fast asleep. This helps me start afresh and get a feeling of well being. But I was always doubtful about this habit that I used to ask my therapist about it. Though he assures me its good to fall asleep, I still had my doubts. By reading your article am all the more relieved now.

  • It is perfectly ok to drift off while having a great massage session. Trust me, it feels like heaven. Also it helps starting afresh. Actually it human nature, a child goes off to sleep quickly whwnever his mother starts those fairy tales in poetic manner, or even cuddles. Hence, while feeling the most relaxed in the crowded world, it is normal to fall asleep.