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  • Writer's pictureElanor Sung, LMT

Busted: 8 Myths About Massage

In this industry, there are so many things that I hear as a Therapist that makes ask "What?" Here are 8 Myths about massage that I hear (or read on Facebook) on a regular basis.

1. All Massage is Created Equal

This is like saying pairs of pants are created equal; they are not. Every massage (and Massage Therapist) is different and will bring a separate set of skills to the treatment room. Not only that, but different types of massage are used to create different results. Discuss with your massage therapist the goals you have for the massage, what you want to get out of it, and areas that you feel need more attention. This gives your therapist a way to better tailor the massage session to fit you.

2. It is Only a Good Massage If I am Sore the Next Day.

No. Soreness has nothing to do with how good the massage was, and everything to do with your bodies reaction to the massage. There are some types of massage that may leave you feeling sore or bruised the next day (or a few days after), but there are just as many that leave you feeling refreshed and renewed, with no soreness. You may also receive the same basic massage from the same therapist and have soreness after one session, but not the next.

3. No Pain, No Gain

This is one I hear a LOT, and not just from clients, but also from people in the industry. This is so not true. No Pain, No Gain is good for exercising, but not necessarily for massage. While there are some types of massage that will have an element of pain to them, generally speaking, it should not be to a point where you are wincing. As for my massages, I like for the client to be just on the cusp of being painful when I am working with an issue or injury. I explain this as "Ouch, don't stop". I will do another blog post to go into more detail on this later.

4. You Cannot Get Massage During the First Trimester of Pregnancy.

Many massage therapists (especially those of us who have been in the industry for more than 10 years) were taught this. However, research over the past decade or so has completely debunked this myth. Massage is perfectly appropriate for pregnancy in all stages from conception to birth and beyond. If I had a massage therapist tell me they couldn't work on me in the first trimester, I wouldn't want them working on me anyway. Now some companies may have this rule in place, but it is an old rule that they see as a way to CYA.

5. Massage Releases Toxins Into the Body.

No. No. NO! (insert Steve Carell meme) Toxins... such a misused word. Something is defined as toxic if it is poisonous. What many people are calling "toxins" is really metabolic waste that is typically produced and regulated throughout the body. Massage doesn't increase or decrease the amount of metabolic waste, and it takes care of itself.

6. Massage Will Help Get Rid of Cellulite.

Cellulite is fat in the body. It has a wrinkly or dimpled appearance, which can cause many people to cringe when they see it. Massage CANNOT get rid of fat cells. It doesn't reduce how much fat you have in the body. With that being said, one of the causes of the dimpled appearance is connective tissue anchors which anchor the skin to the underlying tissue. There are massages that can reduce the APPEARANCE of cellulite, at least temporarily, but not get rid of it. Only way to do that is to lose weight or to seek care from other medical professionals.

7. Deep Tissue is More Effective than Other Types of Massage.

This is fairly common. I typically get the "I want it to be effective, but I don't want to hurt, but I need the deep tissue to get rid of this pain." First, deep tissue may not be what you need. There are effective techniques that can be used for various types of pain management or stress relief massage that are lighter, and more effective than muscle mashing. Second, Deep Tissue is widely misused, when a client would prefer deeper pressure. I consider Deep Tissue more of a Structural Massage, which is extremely intense, and something I don't do on a regular basis. For this, discussing what you are wanting out of the massage with your therapist is vital in getting the right pressure and type of massage for your session.

8. The Effects of Massage are Temporary.

So, Yes and No. If you get massage every once in a while, you are not going to see the benefits compared if you came in more regularly. It is the same as working out. I can go to the gym, do the workout, but if I am only going once in a blue moon, I won't see the benefits as if I was going 3 times a week. Now I don't suggest massage 3 times a week (but if you want to schedule that, I won't, but depending on you, I say anywhere from once a week to once a month. The more you get massage, the more your body becomes used to that level of relaxation or reduced tension. Then it becomes the norm. After that you can adjust how often you come in.


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