Should Massage Hurt?

Do you know what the #1 mistake people make when they go for a massage is? Better yet, are you guilty of it??  Have you ever gone for a massage and thought, “I really want to make sure I get my money’s worth and make sure they get rid of that knot in my (insert body region)?”

Massage is manipulation of soft tissue (skin, fascia, muscle, ligaments, and tendons) to restore function and range of motion and to release stress and pain.  Swedish massage is the foundation for other types of Western massage, including sports, and deep tissue. In Florida, massage is done with the person covered by a sheet, a technique called “draping”. One part of the body uncovered, massaged, and then covered up before moving on to another part of the body. A person can lay on their back, front, or side to receive this massage. Some forms of bodywork, like Craniosacral Therapy or Manual Lymphatic Drainage, are done fully clothed. Those with fever, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, jaundice, internal bleeding, acute phlebitis, and thrombosis are not good massage candidates.

NOTIFY THE THERAPIST ABOUT ANY HEALTH CONDITIONS so treatment is beneficial and safe.

Now, It wasn’t until I went to massage school that I learned the therapeutic and highly effective nature of LIGHTER pressure! The Arndt-Schultz Law states that stronger stimulus will actually inhibit the body from responding the way that would be best for it. A spasming muscle needs coaxing – a consistant, firm pressure that convinces it that relaxed is better. Mild discomfort is appropriate, especially if there’s work being done on a problem spot – scar tissue restructuring, fascial and muscular adhesions, relengthening muscle, trigger points, etc., however, the old adage ‘No pain, no gain’ does not apply to bodywork. Pain causes a person to tense and tighten which is counterproductive. On a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the highest degree of pain), it is best to stay at an 5-6 or below. And if it is more, TELL THE THERAPIST. They need and WANT to know.

The effectiveness of pressure is based on your body’s need not the amount of restriction. For example, an individual my suffer from a frozen shoulder that has been restricted for years, but their body may only NEED a little bit of pressure to alleviate the conditon. The reason for this is that other things like somato-emotional components, pain tolerance in general, and the body’s ability to adapt and overcome all play a part in healing.  One body region may require one thing and another area something completely different.  During treatment, I will monitor tissue and apply appropriate pressure and massage techniques to release restrictions. Though deep work does have its place and is administered when needed it is NOT always better or more effective.

Why not let the trained massaged therapist feel your muscle and apply the amount of pressure that they know would be best. And meanwhile, close your eyes, tune out the day, and soak up the opportunity to lay in a tranquil room with no interruptions.

Back to Top