Massage therapy has been around for thousands of years, and while its benefits are well-known, there are some misconceptions about the practice that still exist today. If you’ve gotten a massage or discussed it with friends or family, you may have heard one or two of these. Read on as we debunk some of the most common massage therapy myths.
1. Myth: A good massage will hurt; that means the therapist is getting to the deep tissue. While you may feel some discomfort when the therapist applies deep pressure on a particular area of muscle tissue, painful sensations should be temporary. If you’re experiencing persistent pain or discomfort during a massage, speak up and let your massage therapist know — he or she will want to adjust accordingly.
2. Myth: The effects of a massage are temporary. Massage therapists aim to relieve pain and discomfort for as long as possible. Your body has “muscle memory” and just like sitting in awkward positions can cause long-lasting aches and pains, regular massages let a therapist address your pain patterns for long-term relief.
3. Myth: Massage just works on muscles in the body. In addition to manipulating muscles to ease tension and soreness, trained massage therapists can relieve joint stiffness and swelling by moving around the synovial fluid that surrounds them. They can also stretch tightened stretches of the fascia, the tissue that connects bones and joints to muscle.
4. Myth: Next-day soreness is the sign of a good massage. Some people may be sore the day after a massage (if they don’t get them regularly or have failed to drink enough water afterward), but it doesn’t happen to everyone — so feeling fine the next day doesn’t mean you had a bad massage. If you are sore the following day, it should never be so painful as to limit your movement or keep you in bed. Drink lots of water, and get in some light stretching!
5. Myth: My massage therapist didn’t ask about my medical history, so I don’t need to bring it up. It’s important to disclose your medical conditions and medications to your therapist; this allows the therapist to tailor your massage and make sure you’re getting the maximum benefit. Tell your massage therapist anything you would tell your doctor: For example, if you have heart disease or any allergies, are taking antidepressants, have any metal in your body or if you’ve taken pain relievers within 1 hour of your appointment.
When performed by a trained professional, massage therapy can benefit you from head to toe, but like with any physical procedure it’s important to get the facts straight before your appointment. The more informed you are about your treatment, the more you’ll be able to simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the positive effects massage has to offer!
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