You have two divisions of your autonomic nervous system:
Sympathetic -the nervous system that controls homeostasis, stress, “fight or flight” response, and active activities. Think about when we use to run away from predators, or you have a big dead-line coming up and a million things on your plate.
Parasympathetic – the nervous system that controls rest, digestion (including urination and elimination), sexual response, “rest and digest” response. Think after a nice big meal and hanging out on the couch to digest, and everything is taken care of. Good feeling, yah?
We heal in the parasympathetic state!
Deep tissue massage is very popular right now, and it a great therapeutic tool in helping people alleviate muscle tension.
But, how hard is too hard?
I always tell me clients, if you cannot breath through it…it is too hard.
Our bodies heal the best when we are in the parasympathetic state, which is when your blood pressure lowers, your heart rate lowers, you sometimes feel like you could fall asleep or “zone out,” and your stomach might start making noises (a good thing in massage).
If you body is fighting me through the deep stuff, your face is contorted, and you start thinking about how you are gonna make a run for it, then the work is counterproductive.
Yes, some deep tissue massage therapists can bring you right to that edge. But, it is up to you as the client to make sure we stay on the edge and don’t dive head first into sympathetic nervous system.
Don’t get me wrong, sympathetic nervous system is great at what it does and why it does it. But, your body will no
t start healing if it feels that it needs to protect itself (remember that predator we are running from? Same idea as the daily job stress, or that long run you just finished).
The idea is not to add more stress to your body, right?
Deep tissue should always be the “good pain.”
That “I feel like I just got worked over” with a smile pain.
Healing begins in the Parasympathetic