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  • Karen Stoner, LMT

20 Massage Tips For (the rest of) 2020 #9

I have seen the following scenario play out many times:

Client: "My [shoulder, neck, random other body part] hurts. It's been like that for close to 10 years. Can you fix it?"

Therapist: "Sure, I can work on that".

- One half hour massage later -

Client: "That feels better, but I don't feel completely cured. You must not know what you're doing, I'm going somewhere else for my next massage."

As much good and as many benefits that massage has, it is not a magical cure-all elixir that fixes everything instantly. Especially in the case of chronic issues or injures that happened a long time ago, there has been a lot of time for that injury to tighten up and build everything that is making it hurt. It is hard to expect that it can all go away in one short session. In some cases, it can take almost as much time to undo all of that as it took to get it like that in the first place. The longer an injury is in the body, the more other things around that injury such as surrounding muscles and tissues can change - partly because of the dysfunction caused by the injury, partly because the body is trying to protect it, and those changes, if left untreated, eventually become what the body perceives as "normal". It can be very difficult to let the body change what it considers "normal", and often when treated the body will relax for a short time, but then the body will make it go back to that "normal". It can take many tries to retrain the body to learn what is and isn't supposed to be normal, and ultimately resolve the actual injury itself.

When dealing with a chronic issue, I often tell my clients that at first, we may need multiple short sessions close together to see how the injury reacts and how long my massage treatments "last", with the goal of making the treatments last longer and longer. As the body starts to accept the new "treated" state as the new normal, the treatments can get spaced out more and become less intense and less frequent. I speak much more about how often massages should be scheduled in my article "How Often Should I Get A Massage?"

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