A bruise is a mark on your skin caused by blood trapped under the surface. It happens when an injury crushes small blood vessels but does not break the skin. Those vessels break open and leak blood under the skin. Bruises are often painful and swollen. You can get skin, muscle, and bone bruises.
Black and blue marks are often associated with bruises. A bruise, or contusion, appears on the skin due to trauma. Examples of trauma are a cut or a blow to an area of the body. The injury causes tiny blood vessels called capillaries to burst. Blood gets trapped below the skin’s surface, which causes a bruise.
Bruises can occur at any age. Some bruises appear with very little pain, and you might not notice them. While bruises are common, it’s important to know your treatment options and whether your condition warrants emergency medical attention.
Some people just bruise easily, plain and simple. It may be a lack of iron or lack of other vitamins in the body that are really causing bruising but even with the smallest pressure, they may see a slight welt. This is not because the therapist hurt them in any way; it’s just their bodies’ natural reaction to the breaking down of tissues in the skin. If, for example, you’re getting a massage to relieve a pinched nerve, then naturally you may feel some pain. Some people may have no visible reaction while others may have a bruise or swelling. A Swedish Massage or another lighter pressure massage would be the best choice for someone that knows they are sensitive and bruise easily, as opposed to a Deep Tissue massage which would be a very firm pressure and may cause abrasions on someone with sensitive tendencies. Some people have thicker skin and rarely bruise. These people will most likely see no visible reaction but maybe slightly sore from a firm pressure massage. Soreness from a massage generally should not last longer than 2 or 3 days. Just like after a hard workout, the body feels the strain in the muscles. It happens the same way after being massaged but the tension in the muscles and knots are being released instead of built-up like when exercising. All in all, the soreness or bruising after a massage depends on the person and knowing their own body and what is right or wrong.
Remember that it took a long period of muscle overuse or a serious injury to generate dysfunction in muscles and tendons. Eliminating pain and restoring normal unrestricted movement to muscles and joints doesn’t usually happen within a single treatment. You may need multiple massages to get the complete relief you’re searching for.
Types of Bruises
Like muscle strains, bruised muscles are graded into three categories and these are referred to as: first; second; or third degree depending on their severity.
- A first-degree bruise is the least severe. It is the result of a minor rupture of the capillaries and is accompanied by mild pain, some swelling, and stiffness. There is usually very little loss of function as a result of a first-degree bruise.
- A second-degree bruise is the result of a moderate rupture of the capillaries and increased bleeding. There is also increased swelling and pain associated with a second-degree bruise and a moderate loss of movement at the injury site.
- A third-degree bruise is the most severe of the three. A third-degree bruise is the result of a major rupture of the capillaries and will result in massive swelling, severe pain, and instability around the injury site.
Anyone can get a bruised muscle, although people involved in contact sports are most at risk. But why do some people bruise more easily than others? The severity of a bruise can depend on a number of things, including:
- How tough a person’s skin tissue is;
- The general health of the underlying muscles and soft tissue;
- Medications you may be on; or
- Your age. Age can be a major contributor because as we get older our blood vessels become more fragile.
It is possible to have bruises after:
1. Physio massage
This form of massage is used in the treatment of injury, disease, and deformity.
2. Deep tissue massage
This form of massage therapy aims at the deeper tissue structure of the muscle and fascia (connective tissue). Unlike the other form of massage, in this form, the pressure will generally be more intense.
3. Trigger point massage
This is a bodywork technique that involves the application of pressure to tender muscle tissue. This form of massage helps relieve pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body. It is also known as myofascial tiger point massage.
Other forms of massage that might lead to bruising would include:
Hot stone massage
Traditional Chinese Fire Cupping
Why Do Clients Bruise?
Also known as ecchymosis, bruises are discoloration and tenderness of the skin or mucous membranes due to the leakage of blood from an injured blood vessel. Although typically resulting from an injury, capillaries may break and cause an ecchymosis from any kind of tissue contact. In a healthy individual, there are several reasons why a person might bruise after massage therapy:
- More common with deep tissue massage, great amounts of pressure can cause capillaries to break.
- Hypertonic tissue is more prone to bruising from massage because more force may be used to release tight musculature.
- Older people are more susceptible to bruising because of weakened capillary walls and thinner skin.
- Medications increase susceptibility to bruising.
Is it normal for a deep tissue session to result in bruises?
Should I feel sore after a sports massage?
*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.