There are many myths surrounding massage. Most of them are harmless, but not all. Let’s dispel a few of them, shall we?
Myth: Massage is a luxury experience
Truth: Now, I can sort of understand where this notion comes from. Massage can feel very nice, and it is a service that is commonly found in many spas. However, massage therapy can and should be considered under the healthcare umbrella. It is at its best when used preventatively, but can also be used to help you recover from injury and lessen symptoms of a number of conditions.
Myth: It has to hurt to work
Truth: No pain, no gain is just not true. It is okay to like deep tissue massage and harder pressure, I prefer it myself, but that doesn’t mean pain. In fact, your massage should not go past a 7 on a 1 to 10 scale. Think about it, your response to pain is usually to tense up, and I’m trying to decrease tension. Fighting one another is not actually a good use of your time.
Myth: Training is easy
Truth: Nope. I’m including this one mostly for those considering a career in massage therapy. The program is certainly not impossible, but it is challenging. Just go into it with full expectations of studying things like anatomy, neurology, pathology and the like as well as actual techniques, and you’ll be okay. This is not something you can learn in a quick three month program, but the effort is worth it.
Myth: Masseuses and masseures are the proper term.
Truth: Please, no. We are massage therapists. A masseuse is, at least in North American culture, used to refer to something a little less… professional, shall we say? Please don’t call your therapist a masseuse or masseur.
Myth: I should only see a therapist of the same gender as I am
Truth: Absolutely untrue. Now, if you are seriously only comfortable doing it this way, that is fine, but for most people gender should not play a role in choosing your therapist in either direction. I urge you to try something different, at least once. A massage is a professional, therapeutic experience and gender plays no more of a role in it as it would in choosing one’s doctor.
Myth: Prenatal massage is dangerous
Truth: Prenatal massage is wonderful. All massage therapists, at least in Canada, have at least some basic training in prenatal massage, and some of us (myself included) pursued further training and experience. True, some modifications do need to be made, especially in the first trimester, but it is both safe and beneficial. In later trimesters, you will either be placed on your side or on a special bolster or massage table designed to accomodate you. That said, you should always inform your clinic ahead of time if you are booking a prenatal massage.
If you ever find yourself with uncertainties about massage, do feel free to ask your therapist. We’re always happy to explain things.