Are massages supposed to hurt?

Massages are not supposed to be painful therapy, even though they can be perceived this way. Some clients and even some massage therapists believe pain is just a part of the massage and it has to be painful to work.

Doesn't it seem odd that something known to be painful to work is actually used for relaxation and pain relief? Massages are not supposed to hurt. However, they may sometimes, but that's usually due to poor technique.


It's pretty common to assume a Swedish massage or any massage without deep tissue work will not hurt. However, when it comes to the deep tissue massage, it's the one known most for hurting. It's the massage many think has to hurt in order to do any good at all.

Often, the pain associated with this type of massage comes from the release of chronic muscle tension. Sometimes, the pain comes from poor technique from the massage therapist, however. If the therapist works too deep, it can damage the tissue, which can cause the pain.



Some massage clients will be able to handle a deeper massage than others. As a customer, it's important to let your massage therapist know if they are hurting you.

It's also important to note that the pain can be caused by multiple things, which can also be client based. A past injury or emotional distress could be causing the pain. It could also come from an illness or from inflammation, as well.


The best way to ensure you don't feel any amount of pain you shouldn't feel during a massage is communicating with your massage therapist. If you have had a past injury, suffer from any type of inflammation or illness or you are going through something emotional, they need this information.

A good massage therapist can help to ensure you get the right type of massage with the right areas worked based on what you're currently dealing with.

Those suffering from chronic pain from issues, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis or lupus may struggle to gain relief with the wrong type of massage therapy. If you communicate with your massage therapist and you still feel pain, this is not normal. You are not paying for abuse.

A good massage therapist will listen and will help the client feel better, not worse. If you ask for lighter pressure, they need to respect this request.

While pain may be a part of a massage, if you suffer from injury, have incredible tension or you have something else going on, it should be very minimal. Your massage therapist should take the time to figure out the right technique to penetrate the tense muscle and give your body the opportunity to tune into the area and relax.

As the client, if you feel any discomfort, you should feel free to communicate this with your massage therapist and they should honor your communication. The technique should be adjusted so that you feel comfortable.