I possess a natural empathy and a desire to help people; whether that is to help ease the pain of chronic tension, to soothe the muscles following over-exertion or simply to relax and take away anxiety. I treat people holistically and as individuals

Amy Phillips - 07800 636266

Dekker Road, Dulwich Village. London. SE21 7DJ

thedulwichtouch@me.com

Friday, December 28, 2012 Wellbeing

Should Massage Hurt?

“I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness.”
Mother Teresa.

Often I encounter the misconception that a massage must hurt in order to do any real good, and if we’re sore or in pain the day after it’s just because the massage was really deep but it did a lot of good things. Nothing is further from the truth than this idea that pain is necessary to achieve good results. In fact, pain is a sign that harm has been done to the body and should be avoided if at all possible.
Slight soreness or discomfort during a massage is sometimes to be expected if there are particularly bad areas of tension. This can be described as ‘good’ pain, soreness that you can breath into and that feels better as the muscles begin to adjust and relax. Any pain that makes you grimace, flinch and tense your muscles is too deep, too hard and becomes counter productive to what a massage should achieve. A good therapist should see the signs from your body’s reaction that they are working too deeply and adjust their pressure/technique to stop it happening.
From experience, I find that working slowly is the most productive technique. Particularly at the beginning of a treatment as the body is getting used to the touch. I will then deepen the pressure where necessary but work even slower- the body can then slowly relax to the signals I send it, and begin to let go of the tension it’s clinging to. Fast, deep work, on the other hand, tends to shock the body and cause more tension, surely the opposite to what the massage is supposed to be doing!
A light soreness the day after is acceptable, just like a workout can give a pleasant light soreness. Pain that impairs your movement, reduces your flexibility or leaves bruises is plainly wrong. You can’t force a muscle to relax and release all its tensions. It needs to be cohered and encouraged to do so. It needs to be given love and care, and to feel as though it is allowed to relax. Brutal, deep and fast massage seems to me more like a punishment than a reward, and when I have a client who is determined that only painful massage works, I often question where this belief has come from.
Of course you must always listen to your client and give them the type of massage they want, but within reason. I will never try to hurt someone, though of course I will work more deeply if that’s what he/she asks for. More often than not, the ‘must hurt’ clients are amazed to find that the more gentle approach can be just as- if not more- effective. The body likes to be treated with kindness and compassion and it tends to relax far more than if someone is forcing it to do things, painfully. I also find that the results last longer when gently coerced, when the muscles are forced to do things, they seem to stubbornly revert to old patterns rather than allow the nurturing and healing they need to take place.
Talk to your therapist and tell them what you want, but also listen to their wisdom and knowledge, you and your body can learn a lot!
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