I've taken a few days to write about this, as I was pretty emotional the first time I attempted to write this entry, and in fact this is the second time I have addressed this issue but it would seem it's a hot topic to be discussed again.
Nothing disappoints me more in the clinic than hearing "No Pain No Gain".
It's almost as frustrating as people cracking jokes about additional services not listed on the menu, but it seems like such an accepted belief by both clients and therapists alike
My stance on this is that it's utter horse manure.
There should never be an instance where it is acceptable to inflict pain on our clients on purpose. Now this isnt to say that they won't feel pain, in some cases of Injury or recovery, it can be difficult to avoid discomfort, but it should never be our intention to cause pain to our clients.
When someone experiences pain, the first reaction is to tense up, contracting their muscles, defeating the purpose of trying to relax the client, and inhibiting our ability to work into the deeper layers of tissue.
Ah ha! But Deep Tissue Massage is sore right? That's what I'm always being asked.
Wrong, Deep Tissue Massage doesnt have to be sore.
There are massage techniques that can be used to sink into the deeper layers of muscle and tissue without stabbing clients with our fingers or elbows causing them to jump on the table.
The whole purpose of my clinic is to assist clients in recovery, as well as pain and stress relief not to have them limping out of the clinic in more pain that when they first came in.
Clients often feel embarrased to speak up when they start to feel that the massage is getting uncomfortable.
Despite checking in with them frequently, asking if the pressure is ok, or if they'd like more or less, you can sometimes hear them through gritted teeth saying "keep going, I can take it". But I don't want them to "take it" Holding their breath, tensing up in that manner just negates the work i'm trying to do.
This is where our palpation skills come in handy, we can feel a client tensing if the pressure is too deep, or if the action being performed is uncomfortable, we can see their muscles move, their breathing change, we can hear their breathing change too.
As a therapist it's our duty to look out for these signals, and adjust our work to ensure our clients comfort.
This is also true if a client vocalizes their discomfort.
Regardless of whether you feel it "would be good for them" the clients welfare comes first and foremost. If they are in pain or discomfort and they tell you this, YOU MUST BACK OFF!
In the past week, I received reports from two people that they had experienced some very painful and uncomfortable treatment from a therapist in the area. Sadly the same therapist, and sadly the first report was so bad that the client was out of work for 12 weeks due to the damage and pain caused from the treatment they received.
This is unacceptable, we shouldnt be hearing of cases like this.
I was very upset to hear that someone in the Massage Community would cause such pain in others. I am only glad that this did not impact the clients decisions to receive further treatments.
COMMUNICATION is the key to proper massage treatments.
It's up to the Therapist to seek out confirmation from their clients that the work they are receiving is what they want, and expect, but it's also up to the client to tell us when we are not performing to their expectations.
Please don't ever feel like you cannot tell me, or your therapist that you are uncomfortable or are in pain.
I shouldn't have to remind people of this, so enough of the "No Pain No Gain" horse manure, lets leave the egos at the door and take care of our clients and our bodies properly.