In all the years that I have been practicing as a Remedial Massage Therapist, I would have to say that yes, Remedial Massage can be quite painful. The reasons are:
Sometimes nerves can be trapped because of the tight muscle fibers, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, and fascia, and as a result, when pressure is applied to the area there can be a lot of pain associated.
When tight muscles start to shorten and become rigid, applying Massage techniques to the area with the goal of lengthening and releasing the are can be painful, however, everybody's pain thresholds are different, what is painful for one might be pleasurable to someone else, so it does greatly depend on the individual
Trigger Points or Knots that develop in the muscle belly can be extremely sensitive to touch let alone to be massaged.
I quite often use the analogy of running a marathon to my clients, is there pain associated with running a marathon?
You bet there is!! Is there pain associated with lifting weights, quite often the next day there is a lot of pain, there is even an acronym that is referred to by a lot of people, especially Personal Trainers, DOMS, delayed onset of muscle soreness.
This is commonly accepted by people that lift weights, that they might be sore the next day, and quite often they see it as a positive, it means that they have worked and used that muscle. However in the Remedial Massage world, when they feel sore they think the opposite in a lot of cases.
Quite frankly, there is a very similar thing happening in the body, whether it is Massage or Weight training, there is change happening to the body, namely the muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, connective etc, and quite often that can be associated with pain, the question is, is it good pain or bad pain? This is also once again very subjective.
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