Anyone who has ever received massage will tell you something similar. It's common to hear how a therapist has magic golden hands, or a calm relaxing spirit. Many people just really need the break from life and come out of the therapy room full of life energy and new ideas. The truth is that each of us approach life from a different angle, and your experience will likely be different from that of anyone else. Today I'm going to tell you about the time I felt like I had run a marathon after my massage.
Definitely NOT a back rub
If you've never received massage, you might have visions of a dim room full of flickering candles and new-agey music. The reality may be very different, and really depends on what you communicate to the therapist that you'd like to receive, but difinitively what it is not is just a rub down. There are specific movements that a therapist should take to help you move towards healing and homeostasis. Some of the given purposes of massage include:
To the issue of Massage Induced Soreness
You may not come into the clinic with specific areas of ouchness, but if the therapist finds a muscle that is not doing the job that it is supposed to be doing and starts to work on it you will quickly notice the soreness from the new action. Massaging the muscles stretches them and encourages blood flow to areas which might not have had adequate movement or circulation in some time. It's similar to going to the gym and forcing your body to do new things, or carrying boxes while moving from house to house. These actions are not performed by your body every day, and they often shed light on our weaker areas and those most in need of work.
Talk to Your Therapist
Trust me when I say that as a therapist I know exactly how it feels to have a good, specific, therapeutic massage. I have spent hours on the table, both in training and in self care deliberately learning the client's experience for the techniques that I employ. I have even had some therapists work too deeply for my tissue's flexibility and experienced resultant bruising and soreness that lasted for days. This is never the desired outcome, which is why it is crucial for the therapist to maintain good verbal communication with the client. Consent is yours to give and may be revoked at any time. If your therapist can't describe what they are doing and why it is hurting, you may be seeing the wrong person.
Managing Effects of Soreness
So the tightrope that we walk while performing a custom deep tissue sports and or medical massage is to be effective towards the benefit of the client without causing undue stress either during the work or after the massage. The truth is...you should feel different, you should know that someone has manipulated your muscles, and you should treat yourself well for recovery. Here are some things that you can do:
Additionaly, you should share your thoughts with your therapist. There are many things which can be employed to make your session as comfortable and as productive as possible. You might explore different techniques, alter the intensity or lenght of your session, the therapist can use a different strategy to work with your trouble spots. All you have to do is ask.