Can you get scabies from a massage? If you’ve been reading through the information on this site or other official health sites, you’ll know the main way scabies is transmitted is through skin-to-skin contact.
“Scabies usually is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies. Contact generally must be prolonged; a quick handshake or hug usually will not spread scabies. Scabies is spread easily to sexual partners and household members. Scabies in adults frequently is sexually acquired. Scabies sometimes is spread indirectly by sharing articles such as clothing, towels, or bedding used by an infested person; however, such indirect spread can occur much more easily when the infested person has crusted scabies.”
From this it is rather obvious that the answer is: Yes, you can definitely get scabies from a massage.
Now that you know, there are several important things you need to do.
First, if you have recently been diagnosed with scabies and have also recently had a massage, whether for relaxation, injury, sports, or any other reason, it is a very real possibility that’s where the mites were transmitted. It is important that you contact the place(s) where you received the massage and let them know about your diagnosis to prevent them from spreading it to any other clients. Remember, every time scabies is transmitted, it increases the chances that you, your loved ones, or anyone in your community will catch it. As a community we want to be reducing scabies cases, not increasing them!
Secondly, it is also a possibility that you already had scabies at the time of the massage, and therefore there is a chance you passed it to your masseuse. In that case, it is also important to contact the massage provider and let them know about your diagnosis. That way if symptoms occur, they know immediately the scabies is likely and can treat it promptly.
Thirdly, if you are a massage therapist and have been diagnosed with scabies, it is important that you cease providing any massage services immediately until your treatment is complete. It is both irresponsible and selfish to continue treating patients while you know you are contagious with scabies. Scabies can be a serious illness in both the very young and very old, and is a huge inconvenience for people in general.
In short – yes, you can definitely both give and get scabies from a massage, and both masseuses and clients should be treated. Remember, scabies symptoms usually show only after 4-5 weeks if it your first infestation. There it is imperative that someone working in close skin-to-skin contact with people daily, such as a masseuse, is aware of any possible exposure to scabies as soon as possible, as they will be asymptomatic for some time before they are aware of any infestation. Be a good citizen and let them know!
If you have in fact been diagnosed with scabies, I’d highly recommend checking out my ultimate guide to treating scabies. It is the exact combination of treatments I used during my own scabies infestation, and was cured from scabies within just a couple of weeks. You can check it out here.