It is common to have pains after a typical deep tissue session, because the therapist actually hurts the muscles. It’s more rare after a Functional Muscle Manipulation session. In the FMM we don’t violate the contracted muscles, we convince them to give, to release. Yet, about 10% of new clients experience pain and contraction one of the next few days, especially after one of their first three sessions. This we call a ‘therapeutic crisis’.

The reason behind this is different.
The muscular contractions are a defense mechanism against hardship, physical or emotional. When we are physically overworked, or -more often- when some event triggers some sub-conscious emotional reaction, we defensively contract the same muscles that we have kept tight all our lives to protect us from feeling too much.

When -in therapy- we remove part of that defense mechanism, we are more exposed to things that we were used to contract against. We become more open and sensitive, but also vulnerable.

If the day of the session or the next something happens that triggers a subconscious reaction, the sympathetic nervous system calls that defense mechanism to action immediately. So, the body goes back to ‘safety’, trying to find  that ‘convenient numbness’.
But now therapy has brought back to life physical senses in those muscles, because that’s how it works. We become more aware and sensitive to our body.
So, the new-old contraction now feels like a new physical crisis.

If we manage to have a session right after this reaction, most of the times the pain subsides in the first 10 minutes and therapy takes a step forward, in fact faster than it would go if we didn’t have the crisis.


George Rodafinos