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A Massage Has to Hurt to Do Any Good, Right?

Robyn V.
Elements Centennial

"To be good? No. But pain can be a result, especially if you haven't had body work done in a while or the spot you want to work out has been in constant and consistent pain. The client may not be able to gauge the pressure/pain level and then tells the therapist to go deeper."

Colleen O.
Elements Louisville East

"Actually, that idea of 'no pain, no gain' doesn't really apply in massage. Deep tissue massage can hurt but a well-trained therapist will always work within the comfort level of their client. Many times a client will say, "Oh, my gosh; that hurts but it's a good hurt so keep doing what you are doing!" It is a fine line and every therapist has her or his own way of managing that line with their clients."

Meredith M.
Elements Missouri City

"No. What good would a massage do with more pressure when you are tensing up? Don't get me wrong; sometimes it is painful. But it should be a good pain and not a bad one."

Glenda P.
Elements Issaquah

"A well-performed massage will almost always do some good, whether or not it hurts. Light massage does a wonderful job of encouraging circulation. Since good blood flow is an important key to tissue healing, even very light massage can be beneficial.

"When massage does hurt, it is an indication that the tissue being massaged is not 100% healthy. The important distinction is this: Is it a 'good hurt' or a 'bad hurt'? The 'good hurt' is what we call therapeutic pain. The 'bad hurt' is injurious pain.

"If the client's attention is directed into their body, they will instantly know the difference between therapeutic pain and injurious pain. Therapeutic pain is like scratching an itch. It's not a very good feeling, but you know it will lead to something better. It's that 'hurts so good' feeling."

Danielle K.
Elements The Woodlands

"Yes and no. Some say massage should never hurt. But in my experience as both a therapist and a client, I disagree. It depends on what the client is coming in for. If a client is coming in for a stress relief or relaxation session, massage should not be painful in any way. The client can reap many benefits ranging from lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol to a decrease in blood pressure from receiving a medium-pressured relaxation massage.

"However, if a client is coming in for a chronic muscular issue such as 'knots,' ongoing pain or a re-occurring injury massage can and will be uncomfortable to a certain extent. It should not be painful per se, but a level of uncomfortability is to be expected and completely OK! This is a common experience for those who receive trigger point therapy. Another factor to take into account is that if a client is dehydrated, they will be more sensitive to pressure.

"The takeaway is that massage can be uncomfortable at times but should never be intolerably painful. Stay hydrated, communicate your comfort levels with your therapist and be aware of the original reasons for coming in for a massage, which will determine if it should be uncomfortable to do any good."

Kym N.
Elements Glendale

"Massage shouldn't hurt. Sometimes pressure is required but it should never be more than what you can comfortably breathe through. The correct technique with proper pressure is when you will notice the best results. Too much pressure can cause a spasm and create more of a problem, leaving you sore. It is important to understand that one session of too much pressure is less effective than several consistent sessions with correct pressure."

Brittney H.
Elements Chandler West

"The answer to this question is a resounding no! A Swedish massage is beneficial even when manipulating the superficial tissues, applying next to no pressure. It promotes healthy blood flow to the heart; in turn, the entire body benefits. Not to mention the relaxation factor, which promotes healthy sleep rhythms that allow the body to repair and replenish while you sleep!"

Fallon O.
Elements Westford

"Personally, I do not think massage has to hurt to do any good. But some clients only feel better if the massage does hurt. I think it all depends on the person and the style of massage they enjoy receiving."

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