This question has come a couple of times recently so, I thought I’d put this blog together.
The short answer is, it shouldn’t.
Any ‘manual’ therapy can hurt; a therapist is working, hands on, with your tight muscle/s, with the intention of loosening them, which means they will be working on areas that are already causing you discomfort, so it may hurt, but it doesn’t have to hurt, and it shouldn’t.
You, as a client, MUST always have control of how much pressure is too much!!!!
The ‘no pain, no gain’ doesn’t not apply for Remedial Massage, if fact it can have the opposite effect.
As a Therapist, I explain to clients at the beginning of each and every treatment (no matter how many times the client returns) and also regularly throughout the treatment, about the ‘pain threshold’.
This is the point where you feel the pressure is getting too uncomfortable, you start tensing up, and the point where the client speaks up and say it’s too much- I then back the pressure off a little, returning to within the ‘comfort zone’, while knowing that this is also a key area which needs extra attention to loosen stubborn muscles, but we need to go a little more slowly and carefully here too.
I believe it is very important to work within a clients pain threshold. If the client tenses up under TOO much pressure, then
– we are working on contracted muscle, which will mean we will not be able to release the original tightness
– the client will only feel more uncomfortable, and feel ‘bruised’ the next day
-the client has already become physically and emotionally resistant to the treatment
Muscle only loosens when relaxed, in a passive state. The therapist works on the muscle, releasing the muscle fibres, which make up a muscle, allwoing blood to flow, bring the ‘good, healing’ cells to the area, stretching the muscle while in this passive state.
Muscle cannot be loosened when it is contracted, while the client is in pain and discomfort due to too much pressure during a treatment.
Client Has Control-
– you MUST always be in control of the amount of pressure
-as a therapist we can gauge about how much to use but not to the point where we can guess how much discomfort you are in.
-you as a client MUST speak up if it is hurting too much
– do not silently accept too much pressure, the therapist needs to know, even if they don’t ask you.
If You Don’t Have Control-
-you could feel worse than the original condition/discomfort- you could feel really awful over the next few days (little is normal but too much is not good for the body to heal, and you may feel very bruised and uncomfortable)
-you may feel really nauseous after the treatment (again, a little is normal, because toxins are released into the system)
-feel too light headed after the treatment (a little is also normal)
-this will not accelerate your healing- ‘no pain’ is not ‘no gain’
(see previous blog on this blog page called ‘How Healing Progresses’).
All of the above is normal at low levels, and are actually signs that you have had a good, deep treatment.
(drink plenty of water after a treatment, rest for the next few days, and make sure you continue the treatment program- see a previous blog ‘Remedial Massage Treatment Program) for further information)
An hour of Remedial Massage treatment with pressure above your comfort zone is not the way a Remedial Massage has to, or should be.