Should Massage Hurt?
Have you been wondering if a massage has to hurt to be effective?
If so, you are not alone. Many people believe that a massage has to hurt to be effective. Well, it doesn’t! You’ll be happy to hear that the saying, “No pain, no gain” doesn’t apply to massage therapy. Sometimes the most effective massages are the ones that don’t cause you any pain. Something that feels marvelous, and it’s good for you too? It doesn’t get much better than that!
Deep Tissue Massage might cause some discomfort….
A deep tissue massage is when the massage therapist manipulates the deeper layers of your soft tissue. Soft tissue includes your muscles, ligaments, fascia, and tendons (it’s pretty much everything that isn’t bones or organs). Usually, your massage therapist will use lotions or oil and will work lighter at first; this is important, it helps relax the top layer of tissue and muscle, meaning less pain for you. Then the deeper layers of muscle can be worked on more efficiently and with less pain. This will feel much better, and you will get better results!
Typically, deep tissue massage is recommended for those with chronic pain caused by tight muscles or injuries. Deep tissue massage can be very therapeutic because it helps relieve patterns of tension that have developed over time and helps with muscle injuries. With a good deep tissue massage, you will feel more relaxed after the massage if no pain was endured during it. It’s hard (nearly impossible) to relax if you are in pain, and muscle tension will only release in a state of relaxation.
Deep tissue massage is not for everyone! You are not a wimp if you don’t like it. It is one of the more involved and intense massage techniques. Some people simply like the feeling of more pressure, and a firm massage isn’t always deep tissue. Be sure to communicate with your therapist about what you prefer and need. Your therapist will appreciate your feedback, happy clients are regular clients, and your therapist wants you to love your massage.
Pain versus Discomfort
Muscles naturally react to any sort of pain. When your muscles feel that your body is about to be injured the reflex to deflect the pain is stimulated. If your massage therapist is ever applying too much pressure, your muscles tighten together to naturally counteract the force, and that is not a great way to relax. A massage is meant to relieve the tension of your muscles, so if you feel as though the massage therapist is applying too much pressure for comfort, ask them to use less pressure. Seriously, they want you to.
Don’t go into the massage thinking there won’t be any discomfort at all though. Pain and discomfort are two different things. People usually describe the discomfort as a “good hurt” – especially about getting a massage. When you experience pain during a massage, it is more than discomfort and could even cause bruising or injury. You also shouldn’t feel any discomfort or soreness following your massage, either in the hours directly after, or the next day. Tender areas following a massage are an indication that the massage was too deep, too rough, or focused too long on that area. Even if the massage felt good at the time, you should let your therapist know if you experienced pain following the massage.
Everybody has different tolerances for pain, so a massage that is painful for one person may not be painful for you. You may also find that your level of tolerance for pressure and intensity will be different from day to day, and even from one massage to the next. If you find that your massage therapist isn’t working between your tolerance levels for pain, then it’s essential that you say something. Massages should never cause you physical pain and very rarely is it okay for you to be left with marks on your body afterward (the only exception to this is Cupping). Most therapists combine massage techniques and will try to give you the best massage for you.