Does massage have to be painful to be effective?
This is constant debate in my industry. I suspect that anyone that argues one way or another is advocating one-size-fits-all approaches. I encounter clients using several interesting methods to try to select the right bodyworker for them. What everyone is looking for is “effectiveness” and some people are very tired of wading thru a vast pool of ineffective massage. Whatever the modality and whatever the skillset, and effective massage should be tailored to you and our needs. When I work with clients I love to educate. I connect the client more intimately with their body. I will poke at the source of their discomfort and explain how it all works. I will manually show someone the difference between their skin, muscles, and fascia. Usually it is about breaking down scar tissue. I will show you what that feels like and how to differentiate it. With scar tissue we will work at your speed, but often, once we get going people realize that the more of it we get rid of, the greater their relief will be. I can make it more comfortable, but it takes more sessions to get the results.
My reputation as a strong touch therapist is not undeserved. Everyone has their own pain tolerance. I can sense that and work just inside of it. Clients keep telling me the challenge was absolutely worth the results so I keep doing it. Sometimes a client will experience extreme pain from the slightest touch. I work great with these people as well. To break it down, we are dealing with a nervous system that has said ‘enough’ and it punishes the client for letting anything near it. We just have to take the nominal amount of faith and create a bit of change. The nervous system connects the pattern and allows us a wider window next time. We just have to avoid further traumatizing the tissue with our work. Quickly we establish ‘trust’ and the nervous system allows us to work at a much more effective rate and the client’s relief snowballs.