by Luke Kavallares, Sports Therapist When people mention sports massage one often thinks of one thing: PAIN! There are loads of reasons why you may have this preconceived idea; negative experiences, the notion that if you can’t ‘feel’ it then nothing is happening, or it may simply be the fear of the unknown! As therapists, we hear it over and over in our treatment rooms: “Well you know, no pain, no gain!”. But guess what, that old theory is just that…old… and outdated! Massage doesn’t need to be painful to work! The purpose of massage is to facilitate and expedite your recovery by increasing movement and decreasing tension, with the end goal of reducing your pain (not causing it!). This is achieved by mobilising soft tissue such as muscles and fascia, increasing blood flow and improving circulation, releasing muscular tension and working to increase flexibility. The benefits of massage are undeniable, and it’s important to know that these can be achieved without dragging you across the pain barrier. A good therapist will make it their duty to communicate with you throughout your treatment, finding the correct pressure, depth and technique for your individual needs, and to make it a positive experience with the right outcomes. But, as a patient, your voice is of equal importance. Talk to your therapist and let them know how the treatment feels, if it’s too much pressure, then let them know! Your therapist will be able to identify particular areas of tension and imbalance, but ultimately no-one knows your body better than you do! The general rule of thumb is that you may feel some slight discomfort or tenderness in your problematic areas but this should be tolerable and not make you tense up, kicking and screaming. We want you to feel that “hurts so good” kind of feeling, not see you writhing around on the couch! The take-home message is there’s no need to fear! Sports massage is great, it is therapeutic and extremely beneficial for people of all ages, shapes and sizes… and remember…it doesn’t have to be painful!