Iíve been told by other people (and even other massage therapists) that pain is necessary for massage to work. Is that true?
– Absolutely not. As a general rule, any stimulus over 7 of 10 on a 10-point scale is toxic. The bodyís reflex is to fight back, making the work harder to do and the experience less enjoyable.
Please note, however, there is a difference between experiencing some mild discomfort and being in pain. A lot of times pain signals are due to abnormal tissues or tissue patterns that are hyper-sensitive or hyper-irritated. In these cases, these tissues will not respond to stimulation the same way healthy tissues will and sometimes they wonít feel the best. Our goal is to find that ìhurt so goodî level of pressure that helps release the dysfunctional pattern and restore the tissue to an optimal state. Sometimes specific areas will be in so much pain that any touch whatever will be painful, but we do have some ways to make the experience more manageable and more comfortable. Using heat or ice and using passive and active engagement of the tissues usually works wonders.
There is no such thing as ìno pain, no gainî in massage therapy.
What kinds of medical conditions can you help with?
– We can help with a number of conditions, as long as you are under the care of a physician that has diagnosed the condition and has said bodywork is safe and appropriate.
Essentially, we can help with almost any kind of chronic pain that is related to musculo-skeletal conditions. Common conditions include: tension headaches, carpel and cubital tunnel syndromes, low back pain, TMJ dysfunction, golfers and tennis elbow, hip and knee pains. We can also help relieve symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, anxiety and depression, sleeping disorders, ADHD, and high blood pressure, etc.
If you have a medical condition and youíre not sure if massage therapy can help at least alleviate some of the symptoms, just ask us and weíll find out.
Do I have to keep coming in indefinitely to feel better?
-While this does depend greatly on the nature of any medical conditions in general, our goal is to offer pain relief in a reasonable amount of time for minor soft-tissue ailments and for general stress management, and to offer complimentary therapy for those medical conditions that are lifelong.
It is common for pain signals to return after receiving bodywork only once or twice over a few monthsí span, or every once in a while or twice a year, etc. What we can do, however, is establish an appropriate length for each appointment and the frequency of appointments in a series and continue to keep track of your level of pain through the duration of the series.
In general, we wonít keep using the same techniques over and over if you are not getting more long-term benefit after a full series of treatments (approximately 4 to 8 treatments), or even after a few sessions within the series.
Also, some people just really enjoy receiving frequent work and thatís okay, too.
What if I am pregnant?
-Wonderful news! Massage and bodywork is a wonderful resource for you as long as your physician says so. Just let us know when you book an appointment and weíll have the room set-up for you both.
John C. Williford, LMBT
John has worked as a massage therapist in a clinical setting for a few years and has experience with a wide-variety of people. From working with people in a community-care clinic, to offering chair massage at hospitals and local businesses, he enjoys working with people who truly care about their health. If you would like to schedule a massage appointment at Empower please call (919) 401-8024 or click here.