No Pain, No Gain? No Way!

Posted: February 9, 2012 in Health & Wellness, Massage Therapy
Tags: , , , , ,

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
– Maya Angelou

There are many therapists out there that like to expand the services they offer and reach many different client bases. One of the common modalities that therapists venture into is Deep Tissue Massagebecause of it’s effects to reach the root of the conditions with more intention. Deep Tissure simply refers to the depth of the tissue reached not nessicarily just applying more pressure.The problem the I consistently find is the overuse of the old saying “No Pain, No Gain.” This phrase seems to be overused with not only massage, but stretching, weight training, & other forms of exercise. Without the proper warm-up and the gradual application, there can be disaterious effects.


I have personally encountered many people’s resistance to the type of therapy that I integrate into my treatments because of their fear of pain. In the past they may have had or have heard bad stories from friends or family about “deep tissue massage” and how it was extremely painful and how it may have even made the problems worse.


“No Pain, No Gain” is a phrase that was started back in the 80’s that exercise enthusiasts use to ensure the promise of awesome results throught hard work and endurance through pain. This theory has been transfered over to stretching and even into therapeutic massage. defineds Pain as the body’s warning signal. The idea that when we feel pain there is something going wrong in the body and we should stop whatever it is that is causing that pain, i.e. exercise. The same can be held true about massage and flexibility training.


If massage or stretching techniques are being administered with too much pressure then there is too much damage being done to the muscle fibers. It is true that through massage and stretching,  you want to break up adhesions in the tissue and lengthen the muscle fibers by separating the myofascial connective tissue from the muscle. The problem becomes that if too much pressure is applied too soon and too consitantly, the body does not have the ability to adjust and adapt to the treatments  therefore the body will not reap the beneficial results of the treatment.


The end result if “deep tissue massage” or overstretching is applied is that the muscle become a major trauma rather than a microtrauma and requires more recovery than perhaps even the discomfort and condition that was the starting cause for treatment. The body responds more immediately to the most recent injury and limits recovery to the intial injury or condition. If this happens then the client will feel more pain and feel that the condition is “worse than before.”


It is important as client to research the therapist that you work with and understand their background in therapeutic massage techniques and make sure you that you give your therapist proper feedback before, during, and after the session as far as how the pressure feels to you and your pain threshold. A good rule of thumb is that on a painscale of 1 -10 where 1 is very little pain and 10 is the most pain you’ve ever felt, that your therapist’s pressure stays between 6 and 7.


Deep Tissue Massage and Flexibilty Training has many effective benefits but only when applied properly. So if you have had a bad experience or are weary about it, just do your research, ask questions, and give great feedback and I’m sure you will have some of the best therapeutic treatment there is to offer!


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