This blog post uses www.truemovement.net/manual-therapies-make-space/ as a starting reference point. It is an excellent article and well worth reading.
There are frequent posts by massage therapists in social media groups that go along the lines off
I was shocked today. I had a client come in and tell me about a horror story where their last therapist used too much pressure and they were sore the next day after the massage. Why do therapists constantly think that it is good massage needs to hurt? Stop the madness
A second theme is
I hate it when a client comes in and says go as hard as you can…you can’t hurt me
My arguments and comments to other therapists who make these points go along the lines of:
I don’t agree with the premise “massages are meant to be painful”. However, I also disagree that “massages should NEVER hurt”. I also disagree with those who tell their clients that “no pain no gain” is a massage myth as it implies that a massage that causes pain is not an effective massage.
I don’t agree with bruising clients. I don’t agree with working through pain when client has asked you to back off.
However, for me, an effective massage is at the pleasure/pain threshold. If a therapist does not elicit some (good) pain during a massage then they are not working deep enough for me. Unless I just want to completely chill out then I cannot recall ever receiving a non-painful effective massage.
If your massage philosophy is never to cause pain for your client then that’s fine. It’s not for me to tell you (or your clients) that you are wrong. However, by the same token, I don’t believe that it is your right to tell clients that a painful massage is an ineffective massage.
Yes, by all means instruct clients to speak up if they are not happy with the bodywork they are receiving – that’s different but “stop the madness” telling clients that massage should never be painful.
The point of this post is to attempt to marry up the various positions of therapists with the article at the start of this post. It might be a simplistic point but the force and pressure required to make space for change may very well differ for different people and may well differ for a given person depending on their mood, stress, physical well being, etc.
People who have had very little massage are likely to be more malleable from the point of view that they require less pressure to make the space for change. As with many stimulants, then for some people the more massage you receive then the more pressure you require to achieve a similar impact and in order make space for change, they require massage to hurt.