Why You Hurt

I’m massaging my client’s neck. I find an area on the muscle that needs work. Within that area I find a spot – just a tiny spot – that feels… different. It’s a trigger point. I gently hold pressure down with my finger.

This client flinches. Wow, what’s going on there? What is that?

This, I say without taking my attention off the muscle, is why you hurt.

I’ve been having this interaction pretty frequently as of late, mostly thanks to the influx of new clients to my clinic (thanks, Groupon!). People schedule massages with me because they know they want a massage, but beyond that they don’t always know what to expect.

For example: I specified with one client that she wanted a full body massage, not just work on her problem areas. She said, “Yea, of course, full body. That’s what I paid for, right?” Well, no, not necessarily. People are so used to one type of massage – the feel-good massage – that they don’t always realize massage can do even more.

Clients tell me that the massages they usually get feel amazing at the time, but within a few days all of the problems return. My massages, on the other hand, may not be the most pleasant (as all of the flinching and twitching will illustrate), but they’ll get to the root of the problem. I don’t just relieve the symptoms; I figure out why you have those symptoms at all.

I want my clients to come back for more massages, but I don’t want them to keep coming back for the same reasons.

When outlining the process and goals with my clients, I always remind them that the trigger point treatment won’t solve everything immediately. But after a few massages there should be a noticeable improvement. And after a few months of massage and directed self-care, the client should be pain free. For some, the very idea of living without pain is almost unimaginable. And yet the solution might be as easy as frequent, focused massages.

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