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Should Massage Hurt To Be Effective?

There seems to be some confusion amongst patients and recipients of massage therapy, when it comes to the question of pain.

For some, the old adage “no pain, no gain” is taken literally.

According to these people, being in crippling amounts of pain during a massage is taken as standard and just something to be put up with.

However, if you ask a massage therapist themselves about whether a patient should experience intense pain during a massage, you might well get a very different answer.

In fact, you may get a range of different answers, about the varying degrees of discomfort you might reasonably be able to expect from a massage. Because it depends a lot on the type of massage that you are having done.

Certainly a Swedish massage should never hurt. It is the go to massage treatment for relaxation and de-stressing. However, there may be some other types of massage that could prove slightly more challenging.

A deep tissue massage, which works on the knots in scar tissue, could be slightly uncomfortable at times.

However, note the word ‘uncomfortable’ and not ‘writhing around in deep pain’. We don’t think that any massage should hurt that much.

If you are experiencing bad pain during any massage then we would advise you to tell your therapist.

No good massage therapist – whichever type of massage they are giving – wants to see their clients in severe pain.

Being a massage therapist is all about discovering the correct type of pressure to exert on a client and see how much is right for each individual. No two people are exactly the same and a good amount of pressure for one person, may be too light or too heavy for another.


As mad as it sounds, there is such a thing as a ‘good’ pain.

This is a pain which feels as if it is doing some good. You will instinctively know if this is the case or not.

It has also been described as like scratching an itch. In other words, this is something that needs to happen, in order to aid the healing process.

Additionally, something that starts off hurting will eventually ease, to a therapeutic sensation. This is as your muscles begin to respond to the treatment and you can tolerate the pressure.

‘Bad’ pain is when something feels hot, shooting or hard. If this happens frequently during the course of a massage, then it is something that your therapist will want to know about.

So if you are in any pain –tell your therapist!

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