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Hurts So Good: Why a Painful Massage Isn't Necessarily Bad

Hurts So Good: Why a Painful Massage Isn't Necessarily Bad

Today I saw a guy with a United States Marines t-shirt that said, "Pain is weakness leaving the body." I'm still mulling over that one (is it?), but one time I know I don't want to feel pain is after I've paid someone to massage me. In my opinion, a massage is the exact opposite of a workout. One involves Enya, the other Rihanna. One requires antiperspirant, the other aromatherapy. One sort of tickles, one really doesn't. And so on.

But apparently, the reason you can be sore after a rubdown is the same reason you can be sore after a workout: your muscles are simply not used to the stress, whether it's due to Lymphatic Drainage or the Locust Pose. Pain during a treatment will likely translate into soreness afterward. That your muscles have been stretched or your tissue shifted around does not belie a bad massage — much of it is necessary to cure what ails you.

If it hurts so much you can't relax, however, the whole experience is for naught, so be sure to communicate to your massage therapist if the pressure is off. That way you can really emerge renewed, stress-free, like you are walking on a waterbed in the clouds. You know, no pressure.


ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
through my jobs - i've found that one of the perks is that i have a lot of reps that take me for massages. (they don't do them, we have girls spa nights). anyway, so there have been a few times that it's been rather painful and i've been uncomfortable and not enjoyed it, but it's partially because i've had such knots in my shoulders that the only way to work them out was to use a lot of pressure. there also have been days that after wards - like the day or 2 after, i've been in SO much pain that i can't stand it. i've had to take too much motrin to get through the day - and that's not a good thing either.
jaan_black jaan_black 9 years
lmao@ the Nutcracker...I need a deep tissue massage and I love pain...had a massage that was gentle once and I fell asleep
mafalda_quino mafalda_quino 9 years
I booked a Deep Tissue Massage appointment for my boyfriend last year, having complained about back pain and stiffness. When he came back from the appointment (and apparently during) he was in so much pain, he refused to talk to me for the day maintaining I was extracting revenge on him for walking out on me and his mum halfway through the "Nutcracker" at the ballet. I think it helped him long term though!
holleighz holleighz 9 years
jude c, i am so with you. i thought i just didn't really like massages until i found someone who wasn't afraid to give it a little pressure (or a lot, when necessary). now all this talk has me longing for an appointment.
dragonbaby dragonbaby 9 years
It is important to know that massage doesn't have to hurt to be effective. As a massage therapist I've discovered there is a lot of confusion regarding the term "deep tissue massage". Deep tissue massage is a technique that targets specific problem areas, working muscles and tissue thoroughly from superficial to deep. It often incorporates NeuroMuscular Therapy (NMT) which can be quite intense. It doesn't mean that you are going to get ultra deep pressure throughout the entire massage. If what you want is firm pressure throughout the session it is important to tell the practitioner you want firm pressure rather than deep tissue. If you find yourself incredibly tight and knotted you might want to consider a therapist who knows how to do therapuetic Hot Stone work rather than spa Hot Stone work which tends more towards relaxation. The heat of the stones penetrates deeply into the muscles helping to ease the tightness making it easier for the therapist to get deeper into the tissue. I see by a few responses that some of you expect pain. It is important to know that pain during your session is your body resisting the work. It is your body's way of telling you there is a problem. I'm not talking about the "hurts so good" kind of pain. I'm talking about real pain. The kind that causes you to have difficulty breathing or has you flinching during the work. Or, you are bruised after the session because the therapist went to deeply. Or, you are sore to the touch for a week or more after the initial session. That isn't therapeutic in anyway. Practitioners who tell you it has to hurt to feel better are not taking the time to properly warm up the tissue before doing the deeper work. Do not be afraid to speak up and let the therapist know if their pressure is to much or not enough. Please do not allow the therapist to tell you that you must endure painful work in order to feel better afterwards. You should feel incredible all the way through the work and someone who knows how to properly warm up the body first will provide you amazing results. General soreness after a massage session is normal and usually shows up 36 hours after the session and generally lasts 24 hours. Keeping yourself well hydrated can help reduce soreness. Ice packs and epsom salt soaks can also help reduce soreness. One other thought, many massage therapists have packages that offer discounts for buying in bulk. Getting frequent massage rather than having the therapist attempt to work everything out once a year will offer you better results. Many of my clients come to see me once a week because they've found it makes an incredible difference in their lives. I hope each of you finds a a massage therapist that makes you feel incredible!!
brutalcupcake brutalcupcake 9 years
I like the pain from a massage lol
emososays17 emososays17 9 years
I love that Marines shirt, I have one myself and it's my mantra while I'm working out and want to quit. Also,I always sort of figured some pain was good with a massage because then I knew my muscles had been worked.
julieulie julieulie 9 years
It depends if you're going for a massage just for the feel-good factor, or if you actually want to GET anything beneficial out of the massage. When my physical therapist works on me, she has literally brought tears to my eyes because of the pain, but the only way to get rid of all the knots is to work them out -- and it hurts. But it's the only way to make any progress. That said, a regular massage therapist does not have the equivalent training as someone with a DPT... but if you're looking to actually work out any problems with your massage, you should feel something!
fleurfairy fleurfairy 9 years
Massages are a necessity for me. I am a very little person and I have back muscle problems. The massage therapists always say that they've never felt so many knots in someone of my size. Whenever I get a massage they say to make sure to drink alot of water afterwards and to not be surprised if I'm sore. So I think pain is a part of a massage, to a certain degree.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I hate massages, I've gotten them many times trying to find one I like but it always hurts. i'll pass
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
I have the opposite problem. I like really deep massages, but most massage therapists assume that because I'm little, I must be made out of glass and not able to take any kind of pressure. I mean, I want to feel the massage in my muscles, not just a light skin stroking like putting on lotion!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
uggg whenever I go for my massages they hurt to a certain degree...but it's worht it!
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