Massage Does Not Need to Hurt
by Lisa Poole on Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Every time I hear it I cringe….. The
“I have only had one massage and they hurt me so much I was sore for days.”
“The last massage I had left bruises.”
“Oh, you can hurt me. The last massage I had the therapist said I would feel better after.”
No, just No.
Massage should not cause pain.
Massage should never bruise.
Sure you will feel better after, days after because the inflammation that the therapist caused has finally subsided and THAT is why you have a decrease in pain.
People think I am a little crazy when I say I am having a conversation with your tissue. I am not forcing my way, I am waiting for the tissue to respond, for it to say ok I trust you and I am relaxing, you can go deeper.
Shhhh…hear that? Your body is telling you something important.
Deeper does not mean pain. Deeper should not hurt. Deeper is your body relaxing and allowing the therapist (me) to work with the nervous system to get the tense and tight tissues to release.
Sometimes areas of your body are more sensitive than others. Some days you feel everything more than others. You may be a ball of stress and everything hurts so a massage may be more uncomfortable, at first, but as you relax things feel better. You may not even realize that the therapist is working deeper.
Massage is working with the nervous system. The brain aka nervous system controls all. It is your CPU. It tells the body when to have pain and when to relax. If the therapist jams an elbow 3 inches deep into your lower back your CPU is gonna shut down and go all blue screen…lol….ok so slight exaggeration….but if too much pressure is applied the brain perceives this as a threat of possible harm and will create pain signals and WON’T relax.
But if the therapist warms the tissue and slowly applies more pressure there may be sensations of slight discomfort. The brain most likely won’t perceive this as a threat of harm and will relax the pain signals being sent to the area.
Your nervous system has a sympathetic and parasympathetic side.
- Sympathetic is your fight or flight, get the kids to school on time and navigate rush-hour traffic mode (stressed). During this state, your body releases hormones and alters your physiology to aid you in accomplishing these tasks.
- Parasympathetic is your rest and digest mode. During this state, your body isn’t preoccupied with saving you from the proverbial lions and tigers of the day. Your nervous system shifts the emphasis of physiological processes toward healing so you can go out and play again tomorrow.
The parasympathetic mode is where I want you during a deep tissue massage. Your nervous system (brain) controls your muscles. To relax your muscles, you need to relax your mind. If you’re on the table trying to “tough it out” this can’t happen. To release chronic muscle tension and trigger points, I ideally want to go as deep as possible without sending your nervous system into a sympathetic, fight-or-flight state (blue screen..lol).
There is a difference in pain and discomfort. There is a difference between hurt and injury. I never want you in pain and I never want to injure. My goal is to relax the nervous system to allow your body to begin to heal.
This is how you will look at the end of my deep tissue massage