If I had a dollar for every time someone comes to me because their last massage therapist went too deep, or heard they hurt somewhere and proceeded to grind away at that area for the better part of a session, I’d be a millionaire (well, almost).
I’m happy, and honored, to be a safe haven for those who’ve been misread, mistreated, or improperly cared for, but just so you know…if it hurts (like really hurts, not ‘hurt so good’) or if you’re super sore or stiff the next day, your nervous system is probably in a bit of shock and “rebounding” to protect itself. #PainIsThereToProtect
The point of good massage and bodywork, above all else, is to create the conditions for your nervous system to settle via touch, movement, therapeutic relationship, etc. This settling or relaxing is what creates the conditions for healing and change.
Touch or movement that hurts or aggravates or feels unsafe (for whatever reason) or that you feel you must “push through” is both unnecessary and often debilitating, quite literally. I’ve seen this over and over again, and experienced it myself as a client (before I learned that my body responds way better to a gentler, slower approach). All it does is send a signal to your nervous system to recoil or guard.
Paradoxically (perhaps) I don’t believe pain, discomfort or unfamiliarity (unfamiliarity in the context of feeling new sensations, or exploring new movements) is always to be avoided. These things are a part of life, and sometimes the way to lessen it is to engage with it, mindfully. That’s also something I can help you with. #EngageNotEradicate
On that note, we live in a culture that simultaneously seems to value the avoidance or eradication of pain (physical, emotional, spiritual, etc.) AND the “valor” or “heroism” of a high pain threshold, whereby the ability to “take it” = strength, smarts or aptitude. #confusing
I think opening yourself to receiving care that does not mimic some of the other conditions in life in which we’re forced (or force ourselves) to push through (e.g. sleep deprivation, work, relational or inner pressures to perform in some way) is quite a brave thing to do, and indicates courage and self-awareness more than weakness or handicap.
My 2 cents.
P.S. Does this article resonate with you? Definitely leave a comment below and share if you’re stuck trying to find physical care that meets your needs, or how you finally figured out how and where to get the physical care you need. We can all learn from each other.
P.P.S. Know someone who might benefit from reading this? Please share it with them!