Is Pain, Bruising and Welting Normal Post Massage?

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I have heard it just a few more times than I am comfortable with now. I have to write about it.

Clients are reporting that they are sometimes wary of receiving massage. In the past, when they were offered deep bodywork, the aftermath resulted in large bruises, tender welts, and pain that lasted several days.

“If this is normal, I will never receive a massage again!” said one person who turned down a free 30 minute massage gift certificate offer.

The truth? This is not normal. Dare I say…that is actually a violation.

The massage industry boasts of relaxation, stress and pain reduction. This is the goal!

Now, I do warn clients that there can be soreness and ache after receiving deeper work. It may feel like you had a good workout and you are sore from doing something you are not used too. Actually, a massage IS a workout for your muscles. There are steps you can take to prevent soreness from happening like drinking lots of water, enjoying an Epsom salt bath and applying ice, heat or pain and inflammation reducing products to your areas of focus. You can also stretch and eat nourishing food to help the healing and regeneration that is taking place in your body.

BUT. If you are grimacing and bracing against a therapists touch, if you are holding your breath, if your jaw is clenched, your toes are curled, your hands gripping sheets in tight fists, you are fighting back tears and you are thinking you just have to get through the next few moments and “no pain, no gain” you have crossed over the edge and the massage is TOO DEEP.

This is your body. You are in charge. You are in control. YOU are the expert when it comes to your experience. You know when you are getting too close to the edge. Trust yourself and communicate with us. Please.

Thank you for trusting your body and your well-being to a massage therapist. It is our job to continue to be present to what is happening to your entire experience at all times. It is our job to check in and ask about pressure and what is happening. Thank you for telling the truth. We are human, sometimes mistakes happen, but between the two of us, there is a lot that we can do to prevent those mistakes.

I would love to never hear someone turn down free bodywork because they are afraid, ever again.

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