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Does a Deep Tissue Massage Hurt?

Category: Health, Massage
A woman on a massage table feeling some pain during a deep tissue massage.

People often wonder if they are supposed to feel pain from intense massage treatments, like a deep tissue massage.

In short, the answer is a conditional “yes.” You’re bound to feel some soreness, pain, and maybe mild bruising, but not to the point you are experiencing excruciating pain.

Some soreness is quite normal right after a deep tissue massage. Let’s dig deeper as to why.

What is a deep tissue massage?

A deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy where pressure is applied to the deeper layers of muscle. It’s commonly used to address aches and pain in the neck, upper back, and shoulders.

During the deep tissue massage, techniques are used to break down painful bundles of muscle knots. Light pressure is first applied, followed by more specific techniques such as stripping and friction.

Stripping is where pressure is applied along the length of muscles using thumbs, knuckles, forearms, and elbows.

Friction is where pressure is applied across the grain of muscles to realign tissue fibers and release adhesions.

What to do if you feel pain during the massage

Some type of pain is normal, but everyone has limits. You might run into a situation where you’re experiencing too much pain you can handle. There are a couple of things you can do to address it.

First, you want to identify where the pain is coming from. You want to identify what part of your body feels pain and monitor the situation.

Second, you need to be able to differentiate between “good pain” and “bad pain.” Good pain will make you feel discomfort, but you will feel relief afterward. This type of pain is normal during a deep tissue massage.

Bad pain will leave you only feeling pain with no relief. This is the type of pain you should be concerned about.

Finally, if you are experiencing bad pain, you can ask your massage therapist to apply less pressure. Sometimes, too much pressure can cause more tension, and it’s necessary to have less pressure applied.

Feeling pain after a deep tissue massage

After you’ve had a deep tissue massage, it’s normal to feel some soreness. The pain you might feel is like the day after an intense workout. Your muscles will be sore, and you will feel some aches.

Soreness isn’t an outright negative thing, though. In fact, it can be a sign your body is properly healing itself. Consider the fact your muscles were stretched and manipulated for at least an hour. Your muscles were working hard, so it’s natural to feel sore.

In a day or two, the soreness and pain should be gone. You should feel refreshed and energized.

Alleviating soreness after a deep tissue massage

If you do feel pain or soreness after a deep tissue massage, it helps to remain hydrated. While you should normally consume a healthy amount of water, it’s important to be well hydrated the day of your massage and the following days.

You can also apply heat treatments to the areas of your body that feel sore. Applying heat can help reduce inflammation. One recommended method is to take a warm bath with Epsom salt.

Soreness and discomfort can be perfectly normal to experience during and after a deep tissue massage. Once the pain resides, your body will be feeling as good as new.

At Happy Head, our massage therapists provide deep tissue massages using the best massage techniques available. Our massage therapists will ensure you’re well taken care of and leave happy.

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