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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Dispelling a Massage Myth: Massage does not have to hurt in order to be effective, says Kathleen Gramzay

Feb 01, 2013 03:52PM ● By Kathleen Gramzay

Understanding of massage as therapy has come a long way. According to a 2012 survey by the American Massage Therapy Association, 87 percent of individuals view massage as beneficial to overall health and wellness and 89 percent of consumers believe that massage can be effective in reducing pain. Clinical evidence supports that belief, with more than 1,600 articles listed on PubMed, citing massage as an effective form of therapy for pain relief.

There is still a mistaken belief out there that needs to be dispelled: that in order to be therapeutic, massage has to be uncomfortable or hurt to work. The good news is that belief is not true. Through understanding and use of the body’s design, therapy can be both kind and effective. Skin, connective tissue (known as fascia), nerves, muscles and bones all play their respective roles in optimum movement.

By utilizing the communication system between the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems, the therapist works with the body, rather than on it. In this way, the therapist can gently clear pain and restrictions from the tissue layers as they let go, from superficial to deep. The bonus is that it’s easier on the therapist, too.

The body’s pain receptors that are sometimes triggered when a therapist applies uncomfortable pressure are never triggered with Kinessage Massage Through Movement. There is no discomfort during the session, no common day-after-massage soreness, or, in the case of athletes, no need for a day to rest before they can work again.

Kathleen Gramzay, LMT, NCTMB, is the developer of Kinessage Massage Through Movement and owner of Knead for Balance, Inc., her 13-year massage therapy practice in Scottsdale. For more information about appointments or classes, visit

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