I’d like to talk about pain, discomfort and tenderness. Most people wait until they are wound up, tight, sore and possibly injured before they break down and get a massage. Which is perfectly understandable, however, when doing that, they are also walking into a session of pain and discomfort. The more knots (adhesions) you have in your muscles, the more tender and painful they are when touched. With deep tissue, the technique tends to cause discomfort as it is, let alone when the muscle fibers are all beat up from your daily activity. But when the muscle is decently healthy, the discomfort of deep tissue is considerably less. It’s important for clients to understand that I am not the one “hurting” them; I am the one making them acutely aware of how much their muscles already hurt. But my intention and goal is to make it not hurt after they get off my table. And sometimes you just have to breathe and bear through it to get to that result. An adhesion can be best described as muscle repair. When taxing a muscle, whether it be by exercise to poor posture, some of the fibers in the muscle will tear. The muscle is designed to repair itself, so it goes in and stitches itself back together… so to speak. And that is what is known as an adhesion, when that happens the muscle where it has been repaired isn’t getting enough oxygen and blood to it to keep it healthy. That’s where I come in, it’s my job to break up the scar tissue, bring blood flow back into the muscle as well as smooth out the fibers. It’s your job to bring the oxygen. Working together in this capacity will greatly reduce the discomfort you may feel when I am working the muscle. It’s natural to hold your breath when in pain, so my gentle cajoling of “breathe” is just a reminder that you are making it harder on yourself. Think about weight lifting. When pushing your muscles to an extreme you find yourself forcing out air to get through that rep. You would find it more difficult to hold your breath and push the weight off of you. But in a massage you are stationary and inactive, so you can’t help but hold your breath. Just do your best to remember to breathe, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.