Whether you’re training to become a massage therapist, or a client on the table, it’s important to know how much pressure is enough
Massage therapy is a great way to wake up to whatever your body needs. Massage therapists are specially trained to ask questions, so they can get a sense of areas that might be bothering you in general, but also to pay close attention to your body and your body language during a massage.
One of the techniques that massage therapy students learn is deep tissue massage. This can be particularly helpful to athletes or anyone who has built up a lot of tension in their muscles as a result of repetitive use. Some people simply enjoy it. But should it hurt? Here are some ways to think about what the massage experience should be like.
Let your body do the talking
You can broadcast a lot of information during a massage, by exhaling deeply when you are in a relaxed place or taking a sharp breath in if the therapist has hit on a knot or other spot of pain or tension. Some people wiggle their feet. Not every one will volunteer information about how they are feeling in the massage table, and it is the massage therapist’s job to welcome and solicit feedback from the client at regular intervals during the massage.
You’re paying for it—you should enjoy it! But beyond that, verbal communication is sometimes the only way for the therapist to get a subtle understanding of what your needs and sensitivities are in the short time that you’re together. If you decide to go to the massage therapist repeatedly over time, he or she is more likely to become acquainted with your likes, dislikes, and vulnerable areas.
“Good” pain and “bad” pain
During a massage, good pain may not be pain at all, so much as a sense of relief or release. This can be an aching or a dull pain, as when the massage therapist works out a knot that has been building up in your shoulder. You may find yourself gently grunting a bit, or sighing a lot. This would be considered good pain—but you should still let your therapist know if you’d enjoy the massage more if they backed off on the pressure a bit, or a lot.
Bad pains are sharp or immediate, and there is no greater benefit. All you want is for the pains to stop—now. You should alert your massage therapist about these immediately, but chances are he or she already knows from your body language if you’re experiencing this type of pain. If it’s your first massage, this can be a good way to get to know how sensitive different parts of your body may be.
Remember to hydrate
One thing that is important after any massage is to make sure you drink plenty of water. Being well hydrated will help you feel refreshed and restored, but also prevent any of the second-day soreness than can plague some people who have had a deep tissue massage.
We hope this has been helpful as you consider massage as a way to care for yourself. If you’re interested in massage therapy as a career, consider looking into a program like the one offered at Seacoast Career Schools. Regardless, we wish you much health and wellness!
This post is part of the weekly blog of Seacoast Career Schools, with campuses in Manchester, NH, and Sanford, ME. We’re committed to supporting our students in taking steps towards a new career. Interested in a professional training program? Contact us today to learn more, or to schedule a tour.