50 Bob Charles Drive, 
Botany Downs, Auckland

Tel 021 95 95 95
or 09 273 7092


March 2004


Skin is the body's largest organ.  In adults, it covers an area of 1.5 to 2 m2 and accounts for about 15% of the body weight. 

Should massage hurt?

Well it depends really.  If you are having a nice relaxation massage, then no.  You may experience some mild discomfort in areas of tension, but unless you have an injury then relaxation massage definitely shouldn't hurt.

Contrary to popular belief, sports massage isn't about hard, deep massage that hurts like crazy.  It isn't about no pain no gain. But there are times when massage is going to hurt to some degree, no matter how careful and considerate your therapist is, for example:

- It may be necessary to work at a deeper level to achieve the required physiological change within the muscle

- When working on an injury

- If you have had a hard workout or event, or have been doing unaccustomed exercise

- Trigger point work

Trigger point work can be a "exquisitely painful", but usually only momentarily and in a way that is "good pain" - that pain where it "oh that hurts, but oh that feels good".  I try to work in through the tissues in stages to keep discomfort at a minimum, rather than the more direct one step approach.

I do endeavour to communicate with clients throughout a sports or therapeutic (treatment) massage, to ensure that any pain or discomfort is kept within tolerable levels, albeit sometimes rather close to the border.

However, even the best will in the world, sometimes therapists do work more firmly than the client can tolerate, missing the non-verbal signals that they are doing so.  If that is the case or if you think that the massage is generally too painful and/or uncomfortable, then it is important that you let your therapist know.  It is perfectly acceptable to ask the therapist to lighten up a little - in fact it is important that you do so as unless you tell them, they're not going to know.

Dul-x Warm Up Emulsion
125ml $18.90

This is a great product to use before exercise, especially as we head into the Autumn months.  Rather than that hot burning feeling you get from some products, it gives a gentle feeling of warmth, to loosen and relax muscles.

Having treated a number of shin complaints during March, it seems appropriate that we look at a shin stretch this month.

Kneel with your toes pointing backward, exhale and sit on top of your heels.  Be sure your buttocks sit on top of your heels and not between your feet.

Grasp the top portion of your toes and pull them toward your head.

You should feel the stretch along the shin (tibilais anterior).  This stretch is useful in the treatment and prevention of periostitis, more commonly referred to as shin splints.

Recently I was fortunate enough to a part of the official Dul-x team providing massage to athletes at the NZ Ironman in Taupo.   We arrived the week prior to the event and were kept extremely busy both with last minute injury management and general sports massage.  I worked with athletes from the USA, Australia, Ukraine, Greece, Russia and Germany, not to mention a few Kiwis, which reflects just how much of an international event this is.  We also worked as volunteers on the day, providing post event massage to all the competitors.  Congratulations to all the Botany Muscle Therapy clients - every one of you finished the event and there were some great times posted. 

I was really disappointed to miss the Twin Coast Mizone Cycle Challenge www.twincoast-cycle.co.nz after an altercation with a chicken kebab put me off work for a week.  This is a fantastic four day cycle tour run by Sport Northland, and with the weather cooperating this year I'm told it was better than ever.  This event is always fully subscribed and numbers fill up fast, so if you are looking to do this event next year, keep an eye on when entries open and make sure you get your entry in early.

On April 3 I'll be working at the Rotorua-Taupo 100k flyer www.100kflyer.co.nz.  This is a really neat event that even I've ridden the past couple of years, and if you want a moderate cycling challenge or a 100k race then give this one a go.  It only has one real hill in it, which if you walk it, you won't be alone.  Entries can be made up to and on race day.

There is the final Aunty Betty's Triathlon Series race for the season on April 4 www.peoplestri.com at Mission Bay.  Start time is 7am.  

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Rachael Button
Botany Muscle Therapy
50 Bob Charles Drive, Botany Downs, Auckland