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Drunken Massage: Harmful or OK

Drunken Massage: Harmful or OK

There are a few misconceptions about massage therapy, and the biggest might be about drinking alcohol before getting a massage.

Here are all consequences of this, explained in a simple way:

Alcohol is dehydrating

The body tries to get rid of alcohol quickly and works hard to excrete it through the kidneys. Therefore extra fluid is needed and drawn from cells to expedite the elimination. So there is already a dehydration but…

…Massage is dehydrating, too

Any amount of water that is transferred to the muscle is removed from your blood stream. This effectively decreases the percentage of water in your blood stream which is the definition of dehydration. Dehydration also increases the effects of a hangover.

Massage increases the blood circulation

and, alcohol thins the blood. Your blood pressure could drop in dangerously. It is also possible that a clot in your arteries could loosen and travel to the lungs, heart or brain, causing a stroke or heart attack.

Alcohol reduces sensitivity

the pressure of the massage could be judged wrongly. Increased intensity of the massage may hurt you without realizing it, since you would be unable to determine if the pressure might be injurious.

Massage releases toxins from the muscles

but, alcohol is a toxin: The double stress on the liver and kidneys could harm them or kill you by alcohol poisoning or organ failure.

Alcohol decreases energy consumption in the cerebellum

The cerebellum is responsible for controlling the body’s motor activity and overall physical coordination.

Alcohol reduces inhibitions and judgement

arousal, heightened excitement, an increase in impulsivity, reduction in impulse control are not the best settings for massage therapy. You might want to argue with the massage therapist or get attached emotionally. It could even happen that you are not able remember things clearly and get confused about what happened. This can lead to unnecessary interpersonal stress such as accusations.


Alcohol and massage together lead to a dangerously increased dehydration of your body. This, combined with a lowered blood pressure, overload of toxins, increased production of neurotransmitters, stimulated activity of the liver and kidneys but decreased heart rate – all this in a condition where you are not being able to correctly judge the intensity of the therapy, is a truly dangerous mix. Even one drink – be it one glass of wine – can impede a person. There are many reasons massage is contraindicated by alcohol consumption, all leading back to one point:

“Massage increases the effects of alcohol, with possibly dangerous consequences”


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