From time to time clients will come in and say something like “I want really deep pressure, I know it has to hurt” or “you can go really hard on me. I don’t mind if it hurts.” Personal pain tolerances aside, the frequency of this request brings up a really good question: “Does massage have to hurt to be effective?”
We’ve been conditioned to think we need to push through pain in order to be successful – in so many areas of our life and our health. And while it’s normal to experience some strain and discomfort during exercise, a massage or even in our day-to-day life, pain should never be ignored. In fact, pain is a warning signal that something isn’t right in your body.
There is now a far greater understanding of the body and how the muscles and fascia work together. New research shows the benefits of not adhering to the old saying of “no pain no gain” – we really need to start treating our body with the care and respect it deserves.
The word “remedial” means “to apply remedy”. Therefore, Remedial Massage is about supporting the body to heal from an injury, tension or pain. Our aim as Massage Therapists, when working with the musculoskeletal system, is to relax and release tight muscles, not cause further tightness or tension.
Pain is the body’s feedback mechanism to say stop what you are doing. When we feel pain the body responds by causing the muscles to harden up around the injured site for protection to avoid further injury. Which of course is the opposite to what we are looking to achieve in the first place.
Rather than forcefully working into muscles and trigger points causing you to hold your breath and the body to tense up, it is possible to release muscle tension gently and access the deeper tissue and muscles in the body. We release the point of tension as well as keeping the surrounding muscles and tissues relaxed. Goal achieved – with no pain inflicted.
If you would like to feel nurtured and relaxed while on the massage table…