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Massage Therapy [publisher's letter]

Publisher Tracy Patterson with her dog sitting in the desert resting up from a hike

Tracy Patterson

The bodywork feature in this month’s issue of Natural Awakenings (page 18) made me think of my first experience with deep tissue massage. I had tremendously tight and sore muscles that were affecting my daily activities and sleep, so I decided to try this type of therapy.

Off I went to my first session, not sure what to expect and wondering if it was going to help at all. It was a very nice room with soothing music, low lights and generally a very pleasant atmosphere, and I was thinking that I could even fall asleep in such a place while having a nice massage. Wrong! My masseuse certainly knew the meaning of deep tissue massage, and all I could think of as I lay there was: “Why do you keep digging your very long, strong nails into me and causing me pain? And why would you have such long nails in the first place?” I left that day with those questions still unanswered, and wondered if I was going to have to mention these nails of hers the next time—if there was even going to be a next time…

As it turns out, I went to my next session and mentioned the irritating nail problem. She laughed and said, “Those aren’t my nails; those are trigger points that feel like hot little pokers stabbing you!” She went on to say that these trigger points were knots in my muscles that would be sensitive (no kidding!) until they were worked out. So then I was thinking, “Goody, I’ve set myself up in a torture chamber of sorts, disguised as a spa!” She must have read my mind because she explained that the pain would go away once the knots got worked out, and the deep tissue massage would actually feel good. I was skeptical but kept going to the sessions, and she was right—eventually the trigger points disappeared, and the whole experience changed from horror to heaven. And no more sore muscles!

Deep tissue massage isn’t for everyone, and there may be less painful ways to get the same results, but I was sure happy to lose my sore muscles and would try this type of massage therapy again. It is really quite wonderful once the trigger points get sorted out and you no longer feel that you are being branded with hot little pokers.

Tracy Patterson