Why Does My Body Feel Worse After a Massage?

The short answer from a massage therapist

Q: Why does my body feel sore after a massage? Is that normal?

A: Experiencing sore or tight muscles is normal after a massage, especially if it has been a while since your last massage or you’ve never had one before.

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Massage is like exercise. It forces blood into the muscle, bringing nutrients and removing toxins. This process can temporarily increase inflammation (the healing response) to areas that the body feels need attention. This inflammation can bring discomfort.

Inflammation and discomfort usually last a few hours to about a day and a half. The same things you do to treat sore muscles after exercise may help soreness after a massage.

Massage does not have to hurt to be effective. Many massage therapists are trained in multiple techniques that range in pressure and timing. If a technique does not feel therapeutic to you, but simply feels like pain, speak up. We can make adjustments. We may be able to detect a problem area, but we cannot feel the intensity of your pain response.

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In addition, tell your massage therapist about your medical history, changes to medications, allergies and recent illnesses. Each of these may factor into the massage techniques used and your body’s response to them.

Communicating with your therapist will give you the most benefit from your massage. Our main goal is to help you feel better.

— Massage therapist Tracy Segall, LMT

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