Why You May Be Sore After A Massage

Why You Sometimes Feel Worse Before You Feel Better

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT –The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney


sore after massage shoulderDo you ever hurt after you’ve been to a massage therapist?  Or maybe you’ve gone to the gym, or done yoga, after a long time away and you feel horrible the next day.  You may decide that the massage therapist did something wrong, or that you’re better off not exercising or stretching.  I’d like to explain what is happening when you have a negative effect after what you think should be helpful.  You’ll begin to understand why you may be sore after a massage.

I’ve been a licensed massage therapist since 1989 and I’ve worked on thousands of people during these 30 years.  Most people feel great after their session and continue to feel good for weeks afterward, but about 5% of people have what starts out as a negative result.

This negative situation has bothered me a great deal for all these years, and while I knew they would be okay, I didn’t know what to say to them while they were hurting.  That is, I didn’t know until now!  I’ve done a lot of research, and I spoke to a lot of professionals who specialize in treating pain symptoms.  Everyone always gave me the same answer…”They’ll hurt for a bit and then feel wonderful.”  That was encouraging, but it wasn’t enough to make me happy when I spoke to my clients.

I finally found an answer that explains the entire problem…it’s called “the Healing Crisis.”

What Is A Healing Crisis?

sore after massage time to healSo, thanks to Google I found a website that is so well written that I’m going to share it with you.  I want to give credit where it is due. The author of this information is Cindy Murdoch who is a staff writer for Underground Health. I tried to contact her for permission to share this info, but the website wasn’t responding, and I couldn’t find her by doing a Google search.  So, I’ll just say, “Thank you Cindy” and share this with you.

I’ll synopsize the information here, but if you’re interested you can read the entire thing by going to https://www.alkawayusa.com/post/what-is-a-healing-crisis.  Everything below that I copied from the website is in italics.

Sore After A Massage?  Explanation

sore after massage answerHealing Crisis: It’s Logical When You Read What Is Going On

Definition: A healing crisis, or healing reaction, is a temporary worsening of symptoms that occurs when the body is going through the process of healing itself through the elimination of toxins. 

Even though the crisis is uncomfortable and sometimes alarming in nature, it is a good sign that the body is working to heal itself.

A healing crisis usually lasts two to three days, but can extend for much longer periods of time, even weeks. More than one healing crisis may be necessary for a complete cure to take place.


The Answer I Have Been Searching For Since 1989!

I am so happy to have found this website, and this article.  This is exactly what I’ve always known in my heart, but I didn’t have the research to prove it.  The article continues….

The stage is set for a healing crisis when the body is overloaded with toxins that have been trapped within its tissues for a long period of time – sometimes for many decades. As a general rule, the more toxic the body is, the more intense the healing crisis will be. As healing begins, many systems in the body work together to eliminate waste products and toxins and can become overwhelmed by the process. Remember, these symptoms are temporary, and once they pass, the body is healthier and stronger. 

A healing crisis can also be produced by a treatment or therapy that causes yeast, viruses, bacteria, cancer cells, etc. to have massive die-offs. The dead cells can overwhelm the elimination processes as they are expelled from the body.

There are also ways to assist the body during a healing reaction. These can include: drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, to help carry off the toxins and getting plenty of rest – mentally, physically and emotionally.


In Summary

Healing crises are good even though they make you feel bad. They are a sign that the healing process chosen is working by eliminating the body of toxins, impurities and imbalances in the body.

The healing crisis lets you know that you are on the right path to renewed health and vigor. “No pain, no gain” is truly applicable when talking about a healing crisis.

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


About The Author

julie donnellyJulie Donnelly is a Deep Muscle Massage Therapist with 20 years of experience specializing in the treatment of chronic joint pain and sports injuries. She has worked extensively with elite athletes and patients who have been unsuccessful at finding relief through the more conventional therapies.

She has been widely published, both on – and off – line, in magazines, newsletters, and newspapers around the country. She is also often chosen to speak at national conventions, medical schools, and health facilities nationwide.

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