Massage therapy – the pain and the gain

People who have never experienced therapeutic massage often have questions and misconceptions.

The two most common I hear are, “Does therapeutic massage hurt?” and “When will I feel results?” The answer to both of these is . . . “It depends.”

Here’s why.

Therapeutic massage can feel nice, mildly uncomfortable and sometimes painful depending on your natural pain tolerance and how your tissues react. You need to try it to find out, but keep in mind that you control how much pressure is used. Some believe in the ‘no pain, no gain’ adage, but it doesn’t have to be a painful experience.

As far as results go, some people feel relief immediately while others experience some temporary soreness. This soreness is normal and will fade, to be followed by relief.

Of course, there are times when no change is felt at all, especially after one appointment. Generally, your first treatment will determine priorities, reactions and tolerances, while your second treatment is more focused on a clear goal.

If you’re new to massage therapy, or if you’re not sure you’re getting the ideal results from your sessions, you might consider trying a couple of different massage therapists.

Each has his or her own approach and style, and one may work better for you than another.

Occasionally, therapeutic massage simply isn’t the answer for a particular individual or condition, and other therapies need to be explored.

A registered massage therapist will be able to tell you whether massage is right for you or not.


Heather Saunders, RMT, is an associate at the Comox Valley Therapeutic Massage Centre. She works alongside RMTs Paul Carr, Bonnie Borbridge and Andrea Thornton. For more resources and stretches, visit or call the office at 250-339-9912.

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