We hear this all the time “It has to hurt to work” or “no pain, no gain”. Somehow this idea has become popular in the massage industry to the point that both clients and practitioners believe this. I have heard some practitioners say that they go until the client is saying “ow!, and some clients even feel that if it didn’t hurt then they didn’t get a good massage. Some wear their bruises as a badge of honor!
While it is true that an area that is in need of massage techniques might be tender, our philosophy, based on a knowledge of how the body works, is that if you are in pain during a massage you are not actually getting the most out of your session.
If you are in pain, or even fighting to stay relaxed, your muscles’ reaction is to tense up to protect you. Since the purpose of massage is to relax overly tense muscles, massage that hurts is counter-productive.
So why do so many practitioners and clients alike continue with massage that hurts? There are several reasons:
For practitioners, some of it is a lack of training in physiology