Learn the truth behind 5 massage misconceptions
MASSAGE HAS BEEN AROUND for thousands of years, but
myths about massage are still rampant. We spoke with Charlotte
Versagi, a massage
therapy manager for Massage Envy, to help set the record
straight. Read on-you can handle the truth!
A sign of a good massage is next-day soreness.
Soreness is no indication of how good a massage is.
"Some people will be sore after their first massage or if
they've been sedentary for a while," Versagi says. "Another reason
is if a massage therapist works very deeply to break up lactic acid
or trigger points in your body, or if the client fails to drink
But if you get regular massages, chances are you won't be sore
the next day, she says. "And you should never be so sore that
you're in bed the next day."
As long as I feel fine, there's no need to drink water
after a massage.
Drinking water after a massage is important and reduces
One way to boost your odds for not being sore the next day is
increase your water intake after your appointment. "It helps move
out waste products that the therapist worked out of your muscles
into circulation," Versagi says.
But don't think stopping by the local watering hole on your way
home is a good idea. "You should never drink or smoke after getting
a massage," she says. "Because massage increases circulation,
alcohol and nicotine have a stronger effect after a session."
If you're pregnant, you shouldn't get a
Therapy is perfectly safe in all trimesters of normal
pregnancies and actually can be beneficial.
"I've heard myths that massage can induce labor, but there are
no points on the body that can trigger labor if touched. Even if a
woman asks!" Versagi says. "For normal pregnancies, it's perfectly
safe. And it feels wonderful-relaxing for mother and baby."
It's got to hurt to be effective.
"Nothing can be further from the truth," Versagi says about the
no pain, no gain philosophy. "If I'm hurting a client, I consider
Of course, you need to distinguish between pain and discomfort.
"You may experience discomfort, but you should never be in pain,"
she says of such treatments as deep-tissue
If your therapist is inflicting pain, say so immediately. "A lot
of clients assume a therapist knows when it hurts, but you need to
say something," Versagi says.
My therapist didn't ask about it, so I don't need to bring
Tell your therapist about your personal health history,
including any medical conditions, surgeries and medications.
"Disclosing your medical information is extremely important,"
Versagi says. "If you have heart disease, if you're taking
antidepressants, if you have metal in your body, if you took a pain
reliever an hour before your appointment, we need to know. That
information helps us tailor your massage to you, determine the
depth to use or decide if you should have a massage at all."
Even if your therapist doesn't ask, give him or her a brief
medical history before your massage begins.
-By Shelley Flannery