Does Deep Tissue Massage Hurt?

I think the reason that this question comes up so frequently is that most people at some time or other when receiving a massage have felt that contradictory “good pain” sensation. The area being worked on feels sensitive to pressure but at the same time the pressure provides relief. I have felt this myself, and whilst it’s difficult to describe I tend to use the word sensation rather than pain.

In addition to the immediate relieving sensation, the discomfort usually diminishes as the treatment progresses, and importantly beneficial effects are felt after the session. Sometimes the temporary discomfort is justified for better treatment outcomes.

Sensations or pain that are never described as “good” are burning, sharp, shooting, nerve tingling, skin tearing, excessive overstretching etc. This is not therapeutic discomfort, is not beneficial and is certainly not justified.

Everyone has different pain tolerance levels, and those individual levels will vary from day to day. To ensure that you have an enjoyable and therapeutically beneficial treatment, each time we work together we will follow these steps:

  • We will talk about any technique that may cause discomfort before using it in a treatment.
  • We will establish a comfort scale for you and work within your tolerance range.
  • I will ask you to monitor your breathing. Can you breathe deeply or are you holding your breath?
  • You can stop or change the treatment at any time.
  • We can explore different approaches and I can modify techniques.

If you have any questions about treatment options please call or email me to discuss your needs.