Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: November 2016

Massage Myth Busters

Today more and more people are turning to massage therapy to alleviate pain, reduce stress, improve general health, and prevent future injury. We hear and read a lot of things about massage - some true, some not so much. I always say it's best to know the facts. Read on to discover some of the most common myths I hear about massage therapy.

No pain, no gain.
The "no pain, no gain" theory does not apply to massage. Massage is supposed to feel good. It is not a test of tolerance. In fact, if a client is in pain, the treatment is unlikely to be a success. When someone is in pain, they tend to clench their muscles, making it impossible for the massage therapist to do safe and effective work. In addition, pain signals the brain to release stress hormones, which activates the "fight or flight" part of the nervous system. This is the opposite of what we're trying to achieve with massage.

Massage rids the body of toxins.
There is no evidence to support this. Your body has self-regulatory mechanisms for eliminating waste. Your liver, kidneys, intestines, respiratory tract, lymph system, and skin are in charge of detoxification. (This myth also applies to cleansing diets.)

Massage is a luxury and an indulgence.
Massage therapy, like exercise, healthy eating habits, good hygiene, and proper hydration, is an essential component of optimal health, wellness, and longevity. Going for regular massage sessions eases pain, facilitates fast and effective injury recovery, reduces stress levels, lowers blood pressure, enhances immune function, and prevents future pain and injuries. Good health is not a luxury.

All massages are the same.
On the contrary, there are countless different kinds of massages. The type of massage depends on the client's needs, the massage therapist's areas of expertise, and the setting. Examples include sports, medical, prenatal, spa, oncology, pediatric, geriatric, lymphatic drainage, chair massage, Thai, Shiastu, and hot stone. In addition, all massage therapists are not created equal. Each has their own specific style, level of education, specializations, levels of professionalism, level of commitment to the profession, and years of experience, to name a few.

The effects of massage are temporary.
If you get occasional massages, that might be true. Chronic pain and stress sufferers cannot expect a single massage session to cure them. But if you commit to regular massage therapy sessions, your therapist will help you retrain your muscles and develop new neurological and physiological patterns, resulting in improved alignment, reduced pain, decreased tension, increased energy, better movement and flexibility, boosted mood, and improved well-being. So rather than offering temporary relief, massage can truly be life-changing.

A few more worth mentioning: No, massage does not get rid of cellulite (sorry), massage cannot cause a pregnant woman to miscarry, massage does not spread cancer cells through the body, and you do not have to drink tons of water after a massage.

And because Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I'll add one more myth buster:

Eating turkey makes you sleepy.
Turkey makes you no sleepier than any other food. Eating loads of carbohydrates, however, may put you in the mood for a nap. More on that here.

We are overwhelmed with information every day, and it can be hard to distinguish truth from myth. Ask questions and seek answers on reliable websites such as PubMed and NIH. Know the facts before making a decision. This is especially important when it comes to your health.

Relieve low back, hip, and leg pain with this simple piriformis stretch

The piriformis muscle has a tendency to become tight and develop trigger points. This leads to pain in the low back, hips, and back of the legs. The pain can even resemble sciatic nerve pain. Here I teach you a simple stretch to help release the piriformis muscle, alleviate pain, improve flexibility, and reduce the risk of future injury. Plus, this stretch feels really good!


What's new with me ...

I am excited to say that I just received an advance copy of my book! Now I need to proof it, and then it will be available on Amazon!

Jesse and I took Sienna on her first big trip. We went to Washington D.C. to visit friends. It was exhausting, but fun. I wasn't sure what Sienna thought of the trip at the time, but ever since we got home she's been begging us to take her back to D.C.

Sienna decided months ago that she would be a flamingo for Halloween. In my opinion, not much is cuter than a three-year-old in a flamingo costume. Check it out!

Call or text me today

I'd be happy to answer
any questions you have!


Fill out my online form.

Subscribe to my Youtube channel!

American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

Available now!

Available now!

Did you know?