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One of the first questions I hear from new clients is “is sports massage painful?” There’s a lot of blogs online that claim it’s pure torture and something to be feared. Now, as someone who has a regular sports massage, let me set the record straight.

What to expect

Your sports massage isn’t going to feel like a spa massage. You’re definitely not going to be pampered or tickled with feathers. However, your sports massage shouldn’t be so painful that you feel the need to tense up in order to bear it. You will feel some discomfort at times but it’s a ‘good’ discomfort.

Your level of discomfort also depends on factors outside of the sports massage. For example:

  • if you are recovering from injury
  • what training you’ve done (or not done) recently
  • if you’re hydrated enough
  • your mood – yes, even your mood can affect it!

The more relaxed you feel going into the massage, the less tension you will generally have in your body.

Everyone has a different pain threshold and it’s my job to work just below it. I will ask you throughout the massage if the pressure I’m applying is OK and I need honest feedback.

At certain points of your sports massage you may feel more discomfort but we’ll work through it together. I like to think of my sports massage treatments as a team event with myself and my client communicating as much as needed.


After your sports massage, there can be some soreness. This is perfectly normal and will pass within a day or two. It’s advisable not to do a post-massage workout. Let your body process the sports massage.

In conclusion, the sports massage is your massage and I want you to get the best possible result from it. Communication is key.

For more information about booking an appointment, please click here.

Is sports massage painful - practitioner kneading client's shoulder