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October 22, 2015 Amelia Wilcox

Are Massages Painful?

As a massage therapist, people often ask me if massages are painful or if they need to be painful to be effective.


Will It Hurt When Getting Massaged?


The whole purpose of massage is to release tension, enabling the client to feel more relaxed than they did before the massage. So in short, the answer is no, it shouldn’t and most likely won’t be painful. 

As a client you should never feel beat up or bruised. When massaging to release trigger points and work out knots, the massage therapist shouldn’t go past a “hurts so good” feeling. Sore areas are just that, sore and tender — there’s no need to make them worse.

Related: Can You Do Chair Massages on Legs and Feet?

When a therapist is working on those tender spots it should be more relieving than agonizing.

That hurts-so-good point is different for everyone. Some clients like work so deep that they can feel it in their bones. Other clients want the light, broad, effluerage type stokes, and any more pressure than that is uncomfortable.

Related: Beginner’s Guide to Instant Stress Relief


The bottom line is to communicate to your therapist. Don’t be afraid to speak up if they are using too much pressure or if it feels jabby and sharp.

Our goal as therapists is to help you feel better, so if what we are doing isn’t working, let us know. A good therapist will listen to you and adjust the massage accordingly.




Amelia Wilcox

Amelia Wilcox is the Founder and CEO of Nivati, a leader in corporate massage and employee mental health support since 2010. Her high-growth B2B company provides employee stress management tools that arm businesses with actionable data and positive employee experiences to improve wellbeing, boost morale, and increase engagement.

Amelia has exponentially grown her company from a solo living-room service business to an international technology brand.

Recently listed as a Forty Under 40, Fast 50, Inc 5000 Twice awarded National Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

Licenses, Certifications & Memberships
Licensed Massage Therapist since 2002
Member of American Massage Therapy Association
Served on Utah Worksite Wellness Council from 2012-2015

Attended Utah College of Massage Therapy
Educated in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Utah

Massage Magazine (AMTA's publication)