DEBUNKING THE NO PAIN, NO GAIN MANTRA
By Linda Sangwine RMT at Iron Lotus Yoga
Jesus, one of the greatest healers of all times healed many people, often with a glance of the eye, a gentle touch or through prayer. He did not shout out to the masses “no pain, no gain” which has become one of the mantras of the 21st century.
Thirty years ago, when I attended massage therapy schooling in British Columbia “deep tissue” massage was the order of the day. Yes, the deep tissue massage which one grimaces through, grits their teeth and takes it -- all in the hope that the pain will dissolve. Is this necessary?
My understanding at that time was sadly lacking; in part due to little research into pain mechanisms and the fascial system. This is not to say that people have not experienced relief with this form of therapy, for many have. My sense is that during that one brief instant before the next round of pressure, there is a split nanosecond (the gap between the space), where the nervous system lets go of it’s grip and relaxes. It’s no wonder that with this type of approach, that many therapists face early retirement after 5-6 years – their hands and arms are shot!
After graduation, I had the good fortune of studying Qi Gong (qi = energy; gong = working with energy) with a Grand Master from Vancouver for 10 years. I learned medical qi gong (acupuncture without the needles). It changed the way I worked. I was able to tune into the more subtle energies in the body and it opened up a whole new world for me, as well as for clients. However, I still felt that something was missing; something was incomplete.
I was led to study Myofascial Release Massage Therapy from a world renowned Physical Therapist (physiotherapist) from the United States. He was able to articulate an understanding of the fascial system and how to treat fascial restrictions. This was 14 years ago, and to this day, I am amazed at the positive results for clients --- some who have had long-standing issues for years.
Fascia is tremendously strong and exerts well over 2000 pounds pressure per square inch (some studies now say 5000 pounds). When fascia becomes contracted/restricted from injury, trauma, posture, repetitive strain, scar tissue, it creates tremendous pressure, often resulting in pain and limited movement. Because fascia is so strong, you cannot expect to bring about structural changes through the use of force. Fascia responds to gentle holding and stretching – similar to holding putty in your hands and feeling it melt. It doesn’t have to hurt to work!
When I see new clients, often they will tell me that they want the treatment to be “hard and deep”, or that they can take a lot of pain, or to just dig in. Something just doesn’t add up. They’re coming for treatment to get rid of the pain (obviously something they don’t want), but somewhere along the line they’ve been sold a bill of goods that says that by inflicting more pain they’ll get rid of the pain --- (remember that old “no pain, no gain” mantra?). This just doesn’t make sense.
The sympathetic nervous system is stuck on “fight or flight” running at a high RPM – screaming pain, pain, pain. The body has forgotten what relaxed even feels like! Does it make sense to give one more pain? Consider if your computer has so many programs/apps running that it crashes. It freezes up. You’re not happy. What do you do? You turn it off; unplug and reboot --- getting rid of all those nasty little programs that have caused you pain. Myofascial therapy is gentle, allowing the nervous system to unplug, reboot and function with ease.
Additionally, the 3-dimensional approach to treating the fascial systems allows one to treat the root cause of the problem and not merely the symptoms. Where you feel the pain, isn’t always what’s causing the pain -- Myofascial therapy -- feel it locally, treat it globally!
Albert Einstein defines insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” When a child comes to you in pain, one doesn’t give them a swat to the head. How healing would that be? Let’s drop the “no pain, no gain” mantra and take note of Jesus’ healings which were grounded in gentleness. You are worthy of the same. Our bodies do their healing when at rest, not when your nervous system is stuck in the scream. Linda invites you to Simply Rest.
©2014 Linda Sangwine. . The views and opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.