No Pain, No Gain: Extreme Massage for Extreme Results

Most people like to get a massage because it is soothing, relaxing.  Indeed, massage was originally designed for this very purpose: to help ease sore, tired, and cramped muscles.  As a matte of fact, the most common type of massage—Swedish massage—uses long and smooth strokes followed by kneading to increase blood flow and encourage healing.

However, there are a few techniques—some older, many modern—that are a little more extreme.  These Euro-spa modalities can be a little more painful than the average Swedish massage.  Some are more physical—and require a little more work—but these can sometimes be more effective in the realm of pain relief. Obviously, pain is a sign that there is a problem, but sometimes that working through the pain yields better results than trying to work around and avoid it.


The most familiar type of painful massage modalities is deep tissue massage.  While this modality is not always extreme, it can sometimes be painful, depending on the what the practitioner aims to achieve.  Whereas Swedish Massage is designed to be a balanced relaxation technique, deep tissue massage aims to alleviate specific knots or trigger points commonly attributed to sports injuries, repetitive use, or car accidents.


While not necessarily painful on its own, this massage modality combines rhythmic compressions with yoga stretches to improve circulation and, hopefully, expedite relief.  The stretching encourages blood flow which improves flexibility and can be painful if you are the kind of person who does not stretch often. Of course, stretching always feels more and more pleasant the more you do it.


Perhaps the most extreme of all massage modalities, Rolfing is a trademarked system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education.  This type of bodywork attempts to influence the body’s natural posture through the manipulation of the myofascial tissue. This the connective muscle tissues.

Generally, this is considered a deep tissue approach even though it focuses more on muscle connectivity than deep muscles.  In fact, Rolfing actually works all the layers of the body, aimed at easing patterns of pain and inflammation within the whole of the system.

This technique is more specifically used to treat chronic pain and muscle tension as a result of physical and/or emotional traumas. Obviously, then, it is sought more by professional athletes, dancers, and others who may experience extreme physical strain and require near-immediate remedy.