CLL Support Association
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Frivolous non-medical question!

Hi folks and apologies in advance for this very "first world" query which is not at all serious or important but I wasn't sure who best to ask (in my non-virtual life!) but knew you fab people might be willing to assist!

Does anyone know whether having CLL means we need to be more careful or watch out for anything in particular if attending a spa, having a massage or beauty treatment? A general internet trawl yields contradictory results regarding massage. I seem to recall that on those forms they make you sign when you go to these places, you have to indicate if you have any medical conditions and I think immune system disorders can sometimes be mentioned..

I presume we need to be wary re infection risk in pools, changing rooms etc but does anyone know if there is more to it than that?

I received a voucher for Christmas for a very fancy spa and am not sure whether it would be wise to let someone else have it!

Apologies again, I know this is sort of a pathetic thing to ask! But appreciate any advice anyone may have.

Thanks for reading,


10 Replies

Hi firefly,

Certainly not a pathetic thing to ask...I beat you to it some time ago;

Answers may help you and hopefully people will add to them. I've certainly not had a deep muscle massage since and would be wary of doing so. My objection to changing rooms is they are using freezing cold! :-(



Oh fab thanks so much Newdawn! X


There is a Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) massage and they are not generally recommended for CLL patients...

Be certain to tell the therapist you have CLL, with node enlargement, so they

don't think a lump is a muscle knot or something... it has happened, I have been told.

I have heard of cases over the years of massage therapists who have refused to work on CLL and lymphoma patients, so just be aware of this...


Helpful info, thank you.


Your question is one that many cll'ers ask and you have already had good replies.

But for interest, my doctor advised me not to attend gym, swimming pool, sauna etc whilst my neutrophils were very low (especially during chemo).

I was able to have reflexology (special foot massage) but no deep massages (due to numerous slightly enlarged lymph nodes). I would imagine very light massages are okay - but I'm not medically trained. I think there may be certain massage oils that are not advisable - but not sure which ones!

Have a fab day if you go.


I am a former coach and practitioner of sports medicine and have had CLL for 4 years . I usually get a massage or two while on vacation in tropical locations, however I avoid deep muscle massage due to bruising. Recently though I have been experiencing extreme pain and nausea with medium touch along the back and sides. I get a lot of information about what is going on in my body from these massages but it is disheartening that there are getting to be more areas on my body that are "no fly" zones for massage. Still, I love head, foot and hand massages for the sheer benefit they give in terms of releasing endorphins and relaxation.


Changing rooms and pools is I believe, related to 'risk of infection'.

"Don't do as I do" i should probably say, however, I was recently in Japan and used public baths (not swimming pools), which is very much a way of life there with strictly followed protocol. No problems, however my Neuts were in the normal range before and after.



Hi. I go to a spa every year for two days (must be our tenth time this year). I avoid the jacuzzi and steam rooms as they are known to breed germs. I tend to have facials, head massages, foot and hand massages/treatments. About three years ago three of our party of four suffered sickness etc. The only thing we had in common was the jacuzzi!

I would also recommend that you avoid walking barefoot anywhere near swimming pools or any 'wet' areas. I have two quite painful verrucas which I am convinced we're contracted this way. My, Chiropodist (coincidentally her father had CCL) tells me that as these normally require a healthy immune system to help cure them, I will probably never get rid of them.

After all the doom and gloom, I intend to keep going - it's wonderful. I love it. I am still on WW&W so maybe this will have to change as and when ......

Happy New Year everyone!

NooNoo x


I have recently been diagnosed with Bursitis, inflammation of a bursa in my shoulder. A cortisone injection from my GP followed by several sessions of extremely painful but very therapeutic and healing massage with a sports therapist. This was followed by an exercise regime for a few months. I am back for a final consult next week and hopefully one last massage session.He is fully aware of my CLL and the massage has not caused any unwanted or adverse reactions.

I have to wait to see my CLL hematologist at the end of Feb to see if i can resume swimming and if i am able to have a much longed for manicure and pedicure. Still on Watch, Wait and Worry.

Anne x


I would agree about steamy places best avoided if your neuts are low and massage not good if you have raised nodes but swimming is brilliant exercise for CLL. I wear flip flops right down the ladder into the pool water and in the shower afterwards. I also use a mouthwash afterwards for killing off anything I might have picked up whilst in the water and so far I've had no probs and feel so much better afterwards.


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