After exploring the various possible reasons why massage may cause pain, we must ask ourselves – what exactly causes this pain? Many professionals believe that physical pain during a massage is caused by lactic acid buildup in the muscles. The deeper and more aggressive the pressure, the more likely it is that lactic acid becomes trapped in the muscle tissue. This trapped lactic acid can create a burning or stinging sensation during a massage. Additionally, if a muscle is already strained or damaged prior to the massage, then this could also contribute to any subsequent discomfort experienced.
In contrast to this popular opinion, some people believe that pain caused by massage is due to psychological rather than physiological factors. In other words, they believe pain results from worrying or tensing up due to fear or emotional stress before or during the massage. Health experts suggest that focusing on relaxing and envisioning yourself–your entire body–at ease can reduce feelings of discomfort.
Overall, it is likely that numerous factors contribute to any reported cases of pain during massage, including physiological-related elements and psychological responses. As we explore each possible reason behind the pain further, we will consider how these two concepts may come into play and its effect on our experience of discomfort when getting a massage. Transitioning forward, let’s turn our attention now to another factor which could be at play - it involves our muscles tensing up due to stress.
According to a 2017 Journal of Clinical Nursing study, up to 40% of people experience some amount of discomfort during massage therapy.
A 2018 systematic review found that 44% of participants experienced muscle soreness after a deep tissue massage.
A study published in the International Journal of Athletic Therapy & Training found that up to 74% of surveyed adults reported experiencing soreness following a massage.
One of the potential reasons for pain during massage lies in the psychological and emotional effects of tension in the muscle. Our bodies are constantly responding to the environment around us, subject to both external and internal cues. Stress is one such influential factor–it can cause muscles to tense up, creating stiffness and discomfort even during a relatively innocuous massage session.
Studies have suggested that people experiencing high levels of stress tend to have higher pain tolerance thresholds during massages compared with those who report lower stress levels. This shows that while tension from physical activity may be enough to cause some level of muscular discomfort after a massage, psychological aspects could potentially deepen the underlying issues. Additionally, when muscles are overly tensed due to stress, massage therapists may have trouble detecting tender spots or trigger points, further amplifying any discomfort caused by massage.
Of course, there are other explanations for why individuals may feel more sensitive to pain during massage sessions than they normally would. The relationship between stress and pain experienced during a massage is not set in stone; rather it likely varies on a case-by-case basis depending on individual psychosocial factors.
Ultimately, it is important to keep an open mind when exploring potential reasons for any adverse sensations encountered during a massage session. While stress-related factors certainly play a role in muscle tension and thus post-massage pain, there may also be other elements at work that should be investigated further. With this in mind, let us now turn our attention to examining the impact of poor massage technique in producing unwanted affects during treatment.
Poor massage technique can also be a source of discomfort during a massage. In some instances, massage therapists may not have the necessary skill and experience to provide an appropriate amount of pressure or they may not use correct positioning when massaging a certain area. For example, it is not uncommon for masseuses to apply too much pressure when targeting an already-tender spot on the body. Furthermore, in some cases, the therapist may put their full weight into a particular spot in order to increase the effect of the massage; however, this might result in discomfort or pain for the recipient if it is applied in the wrong way.
On the other hand, there are situations where poor massage technique can be beneficial. Applying lighter pressure than usual and using more strokes can often help to relax tense muscles. In addition, techniques such as using soft kneading motions or rhythmic tapping movements can relive pain and stiffness that has been caused by stress.
Overall, it is important for a massage therapist to adequately assess their patients prior to beginning their treatment. It is also vital that both parties communicate effectively in order to ensure that everybody understands the steps being taken during the massage session. By doing so, the patient will experience minimal pain or discomfort and thus obtain optimal results from their treatment.
As such, it is clear that understanding whether poor massage technique may be causing pain during a massage session is key to delivering a successful treatment for both parties involved. Moving forward, we will explore different common sources of pain that may arise during a massage session and how best to address them.
The issue of pain during massage can also arise from common sources, unrelated to poor technique. Located throughout the human body are specific pressure points designed by nature to cause physical discomfort when manipulated or stimulated, known by practitioners as "reflexology points" or "trigger points". Stimulation from massage in these areas can range from mildly unpleasant to significantly painful depending on the individual and the amount of pressure applied. Even experienced massage therapists may inadvertently trigger a reflex point which causes discomfort to the recipient, unknowingly resetting its sensitivity to external stimulus.
Excessive muscle tension in the area being massaged is another likely cause of discomfort during massage. When tense muscles are agitated, the body’s natural response is to constrict them further, leading to increased reflexive pain and stiffness. If not addressed before applying pressure, even gentle massage strokes can deliver a degree of discomfort for the client that is disproportionate to their tolerance level. It is therefore important for practitioners to pay close attention to the adductor muscles surrounding areas of potential tension and establish a dialogue with clients that encourages both physical and verbal feedback on perceived levels of pain before proceeding with deeper strokes.
Finally, some individuals simply have an unusually high pain threshold or an aversion to receiving massage due to mental conditioning from past experiences. In cases like this, clients should be made aware of what sensations they should expect before and during manual therapy, so they can create realistic expectations of the process and limit any anxiousness that could affect their overall experience.
Regardless of its source, it is critical that massage practitioners observe both physical and physiological signals in order identify and manage any instances of pain or discomfort regardless of their origin. By understanding why certain areas hurt when touched—whether it be due to reflexology points, excessive tension or psychological issues—therapists can provide an elevated level of care tailored to a client’s individual needs. The next step in making sure everyone has a relaxing and satisfying experience is recognizing how pressure points play into massage therapy.
Most people enjoy massage therapy, but it can also cause discomfort and pain. One possible source of this pain is pressure points. Pressure points are defined as areas in the body that are more sensitive than others when compressed by fingers or tools. This concept has its basis mainly in reflexology, which is a form of healing that uses subtle manipulation of pressure points to restore balance to the body. It is thought that when these pressure point areas are manipulated, endorphins are released, leading to an increase in relaxation.
However, experts also stress the importance of using caution when working with pressure points during massage therapy sessions. Too much force applied to these areas can be painful and put the recipient at risk for injury. Therefore, any manipulation of pressure points should be gentle and done with care. Professionals should always take into account the individual's level of comfort when applying pressure, and should use the lightest touch possible when dealing with sensitive areas.
It is important for massage therapists to recognize and address potential sources of pain regularly so they can provide an enjoyable experience for their clients. By understanding the role that pressure points play in pain related to massage sessions, massage therapists can better customize treatments to fit their clients’ needs and preferences. With careful consideration and practice, massage therapists can ensure the safety of their client while still delivering a therapeutic effect through pressure point work.
Thus it is essential for those providing massage therapy services to understand this aspect, and create personalized treatment plans according to each individual’s preferences and comfort level. With the right techniques and precautions, practitioners will be able to deliver an effective session without causing further discomfort or trauma. From here, more holistic relaxation techniques can be used to encourage a deep state of calmness in a person's mind and body – something we will explore in greater detail in our next section.
The process of getting a massage involves applying physical pressure to the body, making it understandable that a person might experience discomfort as they get used to these kinds of treatments. To counteract this pain, and help an individual experience the full benefits of a massage, relaxing techniques such as deep-breathing exercises can be employed prior to their session. Taking deep breaths will cause the parasympathetic nervous system to activate, which helps promote balance and provide calming sensations throughout the body.
If deeper relaxation is desired, massage therapy experts suggest incorporating visualization techniques into the routine. This technique involves imagining a peaceful environment while tuning in to bodily sensations and allowing oneself to truly relax. Visualizations focus specifically on decreasing muscle tension, leading to even further relief throughout the body.
No matter the level of relaxation desired or what techniques are used, it is important to remember that each person experiences massage differently and therefore should move at their own pace when it comes to intensity levels. Everyone's threshold for pain is different, so practitioners should adjust their pressure accordingly. With proper guidance from a certified therapist who keeps communication open about necessary tweaks along the way, it is possible for an individual to enjoy a relaxing massage despite feeling pain upfront during their session.
Moving forward, if an individual still notices pain emanating from their body beyond what can be expected with massage treatments, it may be beneficial to investigate external and internal sources that could contribute to this sensation.
 Arthurs S. Massage: Getting To The Root Of Your Pain Through Relaxation Techniques. Healthline Media (2019). https://www.healthline.com/health/massage-for-pain-relief#relaxation-techniques
The source of pain brought on by a massage can vary greatly due to its external and internal factors. External sources involve physical trauma to the tissue from an outside force, while internal sources relate to underlying conditions that are exacerbated by the massage. Exercise caution and professional knowledge when considering techniques to ease discomfort associated with massage.
For external sources of pain, it is important to ensure that the technique used during the massage does not cause further damage. Two common causes of this include a therapist pressing too hard or using extreme movements when applying specific techniques during a massage. Both of these can cause physical trauma like bruising or swelling. This pain can be avoided by having the therapist use gentler pressure and slower motions when working with sensitive areas such as the neck and shoulders.
Internal sources of pain are related to underlying conditions that can be aggravated by massage. For example, if someone has a disc herniation in their lower back then undergoing deep tissue massage work can worsen their symptoms. Similarly, if someone has preexisting joint issues such as osteoarthritis, then they may experience pain due to increased pressure on stiffened joints. It is important to be mindful of these aggravating factors before receiving any massage treatments in order to reduce potential discomfort afterwards.
Discussions surrounding both external and internal sources of pain caused by massages could benefit from more research. Clinical studies could shed light on how different people may respond differently to various kinds of treatment and which types are more likely to cause harm than good for those who have pre-existing conditions or injuries. Commonly accepted protocols for massage therapy are based primarily off anecdotal evidence, yet clinical studies would allow practitioners to better understand the risks for certain populations in order to optimize and maximize its benefits for all individuals who receive treatments.