Should My Massage Hurt

We see clients coming in for massage that have varying levels of pain every day. One of the most frequent questions we answer is “will this hurt?” 

There is an old school belief in the idea of “no pain, no gain.”  However, if you are already in immense pain, the idea of creating more pain can be overwhelming. During the course of any massage it is likely that there will be areas that are more sensitive than others.  So how do we find a balance between pain and healing during a massage?

There is a difference between ‘good pain’ and ‘bad pain.’  As you get to know your body and how it responds to massage, you will be able to decipher the difference between good pain that may be uncomfortable but is beneficial in the long run, and bad pain that is too intense to be therapeutic.    This is where you must learn to trust your instincts and listen to your body…if your first reaction is to want to get off the massage table, it’s probably bad pain and you should let your therapist know.

A great massage therapist is going to be able to read your body language, but not your mind.   They should be checking in with you throughout the session and if you start to flinch, they may ask “how is this pressure?”  If it is too much speak up!  Your therapist checks in with you to make sure you are getting the most therapeutic benefit out of your session.  If you feel like something isn’t quite right or there is too much pressure, this gives your therapist the information they need to redirect the session.

In any massage whether you go once a year or once a week, you are in charge of your own session.  Here are some ways you can give your therapists updates during your session.  If the pressure is too much you can say “Could you use a little less pressure overall?”  Or “that is a little more than my body can handle right now.”   If there is a particular area you come to that is more sensitive than others you can say “this area seems a little more sensitive today, could we take a gentler approach?”  Your therapist will never be insulted by these updates do don’t be afraid to speak up!

Although most massage therapists try to keep pain to a minimum there will occasionally be areas that are sore during your session and you also may experience some post-massage tenderness.  This is due to the changes in your body mechanics but they should never last more than two to three days.  This is your body readjusting to a new way of being and muscles that were previously underutilized may be weak and take a few days to get stronger. It will feel much like the soreness you feel after working out and always let your massage therapist know how your body responded to the last session you had.

Your massage therapist is there to help you reach your goals.  For your massage to carry the highest therapeutic value it is important to keep your therapist updated during and after the massage so they can use all of their knowledge and expertise to help keep you Active for Life!

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