Moving Through Discomfort


Change can be scary sometimes.  Even when we are unhappy or in pain, change can seem rather uncomfortable or even a tad overwhelming.  As they say, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. But what if the devil you don’t know is actually an angel in disguise?

Life can be oh so complicated, and sometimes it can just seem safer to stay in our respective comfort zones.  Maybe we have these huge areas of tension in our shoulders, but they’ve always been there, and after a while they may even start to feel a little familiar.  We know where they are, they’re reliable, they know us. However, this kind of comfort is actually a far cry from true comfort. These balls of tension may give us the illusion of comfort, but really we know deep down that we’d be better off without them keeping our muscles literally stuck to each other.  

This is where massage comes in.  While we are doing our best to bring YOU into a relaxing state of comfort, we are not trying to make life easy for your knots of tension.  We want them out of there! While the kneading of your knots can sometimes be somewhat uncomfortable, maybe even painful, this is what we like to refer to as therapeutic pain.  This is the type of pain that hurts so good, because you can tell that it’s making your knots of tension uncomfortable. It’s the type of pain that feels worth it, because you can also feel how it is a (sometimes major) change to your musculature.  

In this way, you may have to venture out and leave behind your illusion of comfort, (what’s holding you back and keeping you stuck), in order to reach a true sense of much deeper comfort.  There is nothing quite like the feeling of release, when you can literally feel your muscles letting go of long-held tension.  This may even be coupled with an emotional release. (BTW it is totally ok to cry on the massage table if you happen to feel a sudden rush of emotion!).  We promise we won’t tell.

This may all be taking place on a rather subconscious level.  We may not even realize consciously what we are holding onto, or how tightly or for how long we have been holding onto it.  All of that is revealed to us only when we are able to finally fully release the muscle, and just let it all go. Taking a long, slow, deep breath is a great way signal to yourself and to the universe that you are letting go of something that no longer serves you.  In the end the therapeutic pain of the massage, while seeming downright devilish, may have actually been an angel in disguise.


Hurts So Good


Here at Mantis Massage, we specialize in Deep Tissue massage.  This means that we work with the muscles in your body that are deep to some other muscles in your body.  They are closer to the core, meaning that sometimes, we have to go through other muscle to get to them. A lot of people think that deep tissue massage means deep pressure.  Not so! There are ways to access deep tissue without using deep pressure, and it is also true that you can use deep pressure and not necessarily be accessing deep tissue - at least not directly.  

This may seem like a technical difference that doesn’t really apply to you as a client.  But here’s why this distinction is important! Sometimes people think that just because massage hurts means that it is doing something good for your muscles, or that conversely if it doesn’t hurt then it’s not really working.


The way that massage works with your body is by working with your neurological system.  Your therapist is using pressure to signal sensory organs within your muscle tissue, letting them know that is it ok to let go of the muscle contraction that is causing tension, pain and even blood stagnation in your body.  Every body is different, and for some people that means that more pressure will feel good to them, as they can feel their body loosening up and reacting well to the pressure. We like to call this “Therapeutic Pain”. Yes, it hurts.  But it hurts so good. It hurts in a way that feels therapeutic. You can feel it working, and the wisdom in your body says, “Yes! This is a good thing!”.

For other people, lots and lots of pressure signals a stress response in their bodies.  The pressure can be too much, and the body senses danger, avoiding the possibility of being crushed.  In this case, the pain does not feel therapeutic. There is pain, but no gain.  Instead, it feels like alarm! Your body is resisting the pressure and it just feels like pain, without the benefit of therapy.  

This distinction can be subtle, and thus is a reason why it is so important to keep communication channels open with your therapist.  This can also vary for different muscles and different areas of the body.

The most important takeaway here is that if your massage just hurts - and not in a good way - this doesn’t make you a wimp or mean that you need to just clam up and take it.  Massage should feel GOOD! Even if that means that it hurts so good. If it hurts in a good way, you’ll know it. And you are the only one that can really measure this difference.  Also, massage can be really effective even if it doesn’t hurt. It is entirely possible to communicate with your muscles using light pressure. It’s all about you, your muscles, and what y’all need.