Okay that’s a bit dramatic, but my point is there are lots of people out there who think about massage therapy as a luxury, not as a part of taking care of their own health. In Iowa City, a city of great diversity and higher education, we think differently. We know that massage therapy and other similar health care modalities are essential to our overall health and sense of well-being.
My clients have come to feel and see the benefits they receive from having regular massage therapy. They tell me they have a higher tolerance when things get stressful and feel more comfortable and at ease in their bodies. They have learned to listen to their bodies and have found the optimal interval of time that works best for them to receive massage therapy. Whether it’s twice a week, once a week, bi-monthly or once a month, they know what keeps them at the even keel they’ve come to appreciate and count on.
Did you know that many employers offer flex health spending programs that include massage therapy in their list of modalities they will reimburse? Check with your employer and see, you may just have a gold mine waiting for you to tap into.
The University of Iowa, our largest employer in Iowa City, includes massage therapy in their health flex spending program. This forward thinking employer even has a Mindfulness Class which they offer to their employees and the general public.
It’s time to let go of that old myth that massage is a luxury only for the rich and famous and join the growing group of us who realize the significant impact massage has in keeping us healthy in mind, body and spirit.
It is my personal mission to set the record straight about massage therapy and pain. Here we go: Massage Therapy does not have to hurt and be painful to be helpful and effective! Notta, no way!
Just like in Girl Scouts, I take on this mission with vigor and the promise to do my best to stomp out this untruth, one client at a time. My mantra is: Pain, No Gain! Take that Nike!
When someone new comes to see me there are a few things I like to share about therapeutic massage therapy. One is that the pressure, (light/medium/firm/deep) used in a massage does not have to be firm or deep to be effective, another is that massage therapy does not have to hurt to be effective and often has the opposite effect. You should see the looks I get. Deer in the headlights, questioning posture, but nodding heads in agreement and relief. What, it isn’t going to hurt?
I don’t know where it came from or how it got started, but the outdated reasoning behind pain is gain is just not true. On a mere emotional basis think about how you react when you are in pain or anticipate pain; your body tenses and tightens, your mind prepares you to be hurt and puts you on the defensive and your whole being begins to shut down. Nice way to start a massage, don’t you think!?!?!
Are there times when you might feel some discomfort? Yes, there are. But discomfort and pain are two different things. I tell my clients to let me know when their discomfort exceeds a 3-4 on a scale of 1-10. I find that taking things slowly and methodically is the best approach when working with particularly uncomfortable areas. This approach has served me well when I coax a tight and sticky muscle to release and relax.
So take a deep breath, relax and release and hold this thought in your mind….pain, no gain….pain, no gain….pain, no gain….Namaste.