Rainbow Blog

Infrequent Blog Posts




Does Deep Tissue Massage have to hurt?

May 15th 2019

To give a short answer, no, deep tissue massage does not have to hurt. There’s a common misconception that massage, especially Deep Tissue, has to be painful in order to be effective, but this is completely false.

First, you have to break down what Deep Tissue is, and honestly, it’s a debated topic, even amongst massage therapists. Deep Tissue Massage is typically considered any technique that is meant to affect the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. And while some people assume that means applying deep pressure, that’s actually not the case at all. In fact, some very light touch techniques can be used to still affect those deep layers.

When faced with the decision of Aromatherapy or Deep Tissue Massage, it’s not about pressure, it’s about the results you hope to achieve. Aromatherapy Massage is generally long fluid strokes, using whatever pressure makes you comfortable, with a focus on relaxing the body; while Deep Tissue Massage combines a number of more direct manual techniques, using whatever pressure you’re comfortable with, to relieve pain and tension on a deeper level within the body.

The most important aspect of your massage is communication. You need to let me know what results you’re looking for from the massage, and speak up at any time throughout about your pressure tolerance. I can give a deep Aromatherapy Massage and a light Deep Tissue, or any combination thereof. It’s all about what you want.

Now, sometimes, especially with Deep Tissue Massage, there might be some discomfort as certain tender areas are addressed, and that’s normal. The thing to keep in mind, is that it should never go beyond a “good hurt”, the kind where it’s uncomfortable, but you can breathe through it easily, the muscles can stay relaxed, and it’s got a hint of relief mixed in with the hurt. That’s perfectly fine. But if the pressure exceeds that “good hurt” and goes into true pain, where you make funny faces, hold your breath, or feel like you need to tense up your muscles, that means we’re doing more harm than good.

The entire point of your massage, whether Aromatherapy, Deep Tissue, or any other modality out there, is to relax the body and release any built up tension in the muscles. If you’re clenching or tensing up your muscles in response to something I’m doing, we’re defeating the purpose of your massage and I need to back off the pressure. So please, no matter what, speak up if the pressure is ever too much, or too little for that matter. Massage, whatever the type, does not need to hurt to be effective.

Massage and Migranes

May 24th 2019

Let’s just say it…migraines are awful! They’re a painful, debilitating, and all-too-common problem for many people. It’s estimated that 1 in 7 of people in the UK  suffers from migraines. While many people seek over-the-counter or prescription drugs to ease their pain and prevent migraines, you may want to consider adding massage into your regular routine instead. Research has shown that massage can improve headache pain and decrease the frequency of migraines.

But what exactly is a migraine and how can massage help?

Migraines are typically felt as a severe pain in the head accompanied by light and sound sensitivity, nausea, and visual disturbances. For many years, migraines were believed to be vascular in nature. It was thought that the blood vessels in the head and neck would spasm or dilate excessively causing significant decreases and/or increases in blood flow, resulting in migraine symptoms. However, in recent years, studies have shown that migraines are much more likely neurological in nature.

Now that we understand there is a major neurological component to migraines, it’s easier to understand how massage can benefit those who suffer from this debilitating condition. Massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, the part that calms us. This portion of the nervous system is responsible for regulating our breathing, slowing our heart rate, returning our blood pressure to normal, and overall keeping the body relatively stress-free. By keeping us and our nervous system calm, migraines can often be avoided. In a 2006 study¹, weekly massage sessions were shown to decrease migraine frequency and improve sleep quality. A gentle, yet focused massage to the back, neck, shoulders, scalp, and face seems to be the most effective in helping those who suffer from migraines.

While massage during a migraine may seem out of the question, as most people experience intense touch sensitivity and aversion, when massage is performed only on the feet or hands, symptoms can decrease. This is thought to be due to the calming effect on the entire nervous system, thereby decreasing the abnormal neurological signals that are being perceived.

So before your next migraine hits, schedule regular massage appointments and let us help keep them at bay.

References: ¹ A randomized, controlled trial of massage therapy as a treatment for migraine. Lawler SP1, Cameron LD. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16827629

Relaxing Ideas for Valentine's day

Feb 11th 2020

For many couples, Valentine’s Day consists of an expensive dinner and a fun filled night out. But the pressure to make the day some big romantic event often takes over and it’s not nearly as enjoyable as it could be. So, what would it look like if you made Valentine’s Day a fun, relaxing experience for your bodies, minds, and souls while bringing you closer together at the same time? Here are a few unique and relaxing ideas to avoid the busy night out and enjoy your time together, showing each other just how much you care.

#1: Cook something for them

How special would it be if instead of going out to eat a nice dinner, something you might do fairly often anyway, you took some time out of your day to put together some of their favorite dishes? It doesn’t have to be some big 6-course meal or even the fanciest foods. Sometimes, the simple act of learning what their favorite food is and doing everything you can to make it yourself…well that’s going above and beyond what most Valentine’s Days consist of, right?

#2: Enjoy nature together

If weather allows, go for a hike, take a stroll around the park, or build a little bonfire out in your back yard and sit together. Talk, be silly, and just enjoy each other’s company. Soak up the beauty of nature, listen to the birds, or wonder at the stars. It may still be cool outside, but a sweater and a few blankets can make you feel even more cozy as you snuggle up together. Pack something warm to drink, a few snacks or special sweet treats, and simply enjoy the view and the conversation.

#3: A spa day

The most relaxing of all gifts, the luxury and full body relaxation that comes with a spa day. An incredible massage, intensely nourishing skin treatments, and a beautiful atmosphere can soothe the body, mind, and soul. Whether a gift certificate for one or an experience for both of you to enjoy together, a spa day is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for everyone.

This year, think beyond the typical dinner out, the flowers, and the candies, and instead look at ways you can truly come closer together on this day of beauty and love! 

TMJ Disorder

Sept 22nd 2020

Have you ever had pain, stiffness, grinding, clicking, or locking of your jaw? These are most often clear signs of TMJ (temporomandibular joint) Dysfunction. This is a common condition, affecting over 10 million people! The severity of the condition varies greatly, with some people experiencing only mild symptoms on occasion, while others suffer a great deal daily. And if you notice your symptoms getting worse, now’s the time to start taking care of it. That grinding, clicking, pain, and locking are all signs that the joint isn’t moving and functioning properly, meaning damage is being done, and without intervention that damage may very well be irreparable.

What causes this kind of dysfunction? It can be due to clenching of the jaw and/or grinding of the teeth. Tightening the muscles around the jaw is a common reaction to stress. This can happen as our bodies try to recover from a busy day as we sleep, or throughout the day as we deal with even mild stressors.

Conventional care that most people talk about is usually limited to night guards, devices worn through the night to prevent grinding of the teeth. However, the problem with these is that they often don’t address the overall problem. A night guard protects the teeth so they don’t wear down so much over time, and/or helps to realign the jaw to prevent an abnormal position of the joint as you sleep. But none of this addresses the clenching, the tightening of the muscles in that area that are at the root of the problem.

One thing that may help…you guessed it, massage therapy. Studies have shown that massage therapy can help with the symptoms and pain associated with TMJ Dysfunction. The focus of this type of massage is on releasing the muscle tension and restrictions throughout the musculature of the jaw, face, neck, chest, and upper shoulders. That clenching of the jaw doesn’t just affect the TM joint, but rather the muscles controlling that area are positioned throughout the head, neck, and shoulders. It’s important to work them all to address the problem and prevent others. If you have any form of TMJ Dysfunction, you’ve probably felt the neck tension and headaches that can come along with it.

While massage of the muscles in this area is important, intraoral massage can improve your results even more. Intraoral massage is just massage that is done on the cheek from inside the mouth, with a gloved hand of course. A recent study¹ has shown that combining intraoral massage with external facial massage is 80% more effective than just external facial massage.

Because of the sensitive nature of this area and the intricacy of the structures, it’s important that you see a massage therapist who is qualified and knows their stuff. TMJ Dysfunction is common, but you don’t have to live with the pain. Book your appointment and get relief now!

Rainbow Relaxation is REALLY excited to announce that we are currently training to deliver TMJ Therapy to our clients, and once training is complete in a few weeks, we will be able to deliver this both in person AND online to clients, via Zoom, GLOBALLY!!!!!


¹Pierson, Melissa Joan. “Changes in Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Symptoms Following Massage Therapy: A Case Report.” International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork: Research, Education, & Practice, ijtmb.org/index.php/ijtmb/article/view/110/201

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