Does Massage hurt? What would seem like a simple question, requires more reflection then many Massage Therapists are likely to give before they answer. Maybe a better question is what do you hope to achieve during your session and beyond?
The biggest factor to consider your goal or your expectation for the massage. Do you want a relaxing massage or a therapeutic session? Just remember when you ask for relaxation work, what you receive will be superficial (at least on the physical plane), so if you have deep seated muscular/ tension issues, you won’t benefit much in the long run and won’t be getting your monies worth. On the other hand, if you only rarely receive massage but you expect that it will solve all you health challenges, in just one session, then your putting way to much stress on your therapist.
Many Therapist’s tell their potential clients that massage absolutely should not hurt, going on to suggest that if it does hurt the Therapist is doing something wrong. While there is truth to that notion, sometimes that answer is more about pandering to a potential client, to get the “business”, then to really inform. For example, Though something may not be entirely appealing to you, it may well be in your interest. By analogy, you might not like Spinach, but It serves your body well. A fast food burger and fries may taste good going down (not hurt), but will hurt you in the long run.
Let me be clear. During a Massage Session, the client or patient should tell the Therapist if they are feeling pain. Some Therapists use a scale of 1-10 pain level, ask the massage recipient what number they are feeling? 1 being the least , 10 being the highest level of pain.The Therapist adjusts his Massage to fit the 7-8 pain range. The problem is that this is all a bit subjective.To one person 7 can’t be felt, to another, 7 feels like a ton of bricks. But getting feedback puts you in the ball park, at least. There is what the client describes as a “good” hurt, experience suggests, you have found the appropriate level of pressure.
Often a clients ongoing issues are deep set, and to resolve , you have to drop to the level, where the problem exists, to be effective. This does not mean you plow through, full speed ahead..Rome was not built in a day, and your body’s challenge to be healthy will not be resolved in a single day. If, for example, your neck suddenly is stiff as a board, you get a quality Massage, and It feels a whole lot better, you return in a week for a follow-up, the Therapist has already identified the source of this acute problem, a spasm in the upper Trapezius muscle. The good therapist is going to understand the “problem” is new (acute), the muscle involved is superficial (near the surface) and that it can be resolved fairly quick and with appropriately lighter pressure. The neck has 7 layers of muscle, the Trapezius muscle being near the surface.
Lets say, another person comes in for help. She is also having neck problems. Her health challenge has been ongoing chronic , the results of “whiplash” sustained in a car accident years before. By now she has many neck muscles involved, including some of the deepest, like the Multifidus. This person needs a different approach then our first example. You just can’t go in there and “rip” it out. More visits and more work at progressively deeper levels is what is called for, which may not hurt, but may not be as pleasant experience.
Most often, the real discomfort a person feels has to do with the aftermath of the Massage. I will cover this issue very soon.