Remedial Massages ?

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Level 3 Valued Member
I was wondering if anyone has any expertise with (what is called here in Australia) Remedial Massage (maybe ART in the US ??).

I had one last Wednesday (9th Sept) to try and help with some long-term (10+yrs) of muscle tightness (predominately right side of body). I've never had serious pain, just asymmetry (FMS worst would be 1,2 Shoulder Mobility, 2,2 ALR) with my right side obliques always switched on, right hip/glute too.

This particular man was recommended, so I gave him a try - he basically did my whole posterior chain - back, hamstrings, calves, ankles - then my triceps/elbows (I have residual trigger-finger still from nerve impingment from kayaking+deads). Then the hour was up and he had another client waiting (so a bit of a hurried exit).

The next day I felt horrible. Weakness and massive localised fatigue. I was having a rest day from training (just doing SS, nothing else) but still was so surprised how weak and tired I felt. Even getting out of breath quickly v never previously. I train pretty consistently so this was noticeable and much more than usual fatigue from training. Even felt light headed. And I could feel tight muscles (that I had probably subconsciously ignored previously) - like the antagonists to where I was massaged. However one positive - my lower back felt great whereas it would usually be tight from deads (which I did - only from knee height - before the massage - experimenting to see how the massage would work for a post workout treatment).

Then Friday/Sat still the same weakness, fatigue, though slightly better.
While I expected to feel a bit wonky after stirring up long term muscle imbalances, it got me wondering if there could be negatives to doing this?
What if, for example, you release a particular muscle but not the antagonist? You would then have a new imbalance. Would the treatment have to be "intelligent" - have a strategy connected to it?
I don't know - but I don't want to get injured from having new imbalances from a massage. While this may sound ironic - seeing that I have been unbalanced for years - my self-created imbalance was my innate CNS intelligence doing what it "had to" and therefore compensating etc. so as to not cause injury (I know - eventually it could result in injury, fortunately for me nothing yet).

I will give it another go as I only feel half-massaged! Hopefully no more fatigue/weakness, but the tighter areas are the ones not yet massaged. I will ask my masseur some questions this time, yet was hoping someone with a FMS understanding would have some expertise. Thanks.


Level 4 Valued Member
Did this issue persist Matt ?

It's over a week since your massage, so I'm just curious about the outcome.

Sometimes a myofascial release massage can release some old adhesions or tension patterns and in extreme cases cause a healing crisis, but normally it's a fleeting thing that only lasts a few days at most. Even a good a deep tissue massage can sometimes trigger a healing crisis, but it is very rare.

Sometimes the symptoms you described are experienced at the onset of a virus or illness of some sort as well. An osteopathic adjustment/release can often cause a lethargic feeling in the hours after it's been done, but that is normally just something that lasts for the rest of the day after the release.

Did you ever go back and try to get it sorted out ?


Level 3 Valued Member
Hi Tarzan,

Thanks for your interest. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get to a follow-up massage but I will. I had a quick chat with my masseur and he said it is not uncommon. Yet I was surprised at the intensity of mine.

After 4 days I felt less lethargic - but felt more aware of my tightness which wasn't massaged.
I really notice it with swings - still they are a bit off, yet for a few other things I do (dips for eg) I felt stronger.
So all in all - I believe it will help. Yet like my earlier post, I wonder if there is a better way to do the massage (and if the person had a knowledge of the concepts of FMS I believe they would do it differently and better) so that it doesn't cause an asymmetric recovery so to speak.

It definitely was noticeable that I didn't have any stiffness from the deadlies I did before the massage. So obviously they are great. Maybe that was a distraction to my existing issues and put a spanner in the works. Don't know.


Level 4 Valued Member
That's good news.

It sounds like he could have planned it a bit better and worked the antagonists at the same time. Maybe he was just trying to focus on what you wanted, I imagine some people wouldn't understand the concept of antagonistic muscle balance and would think he was wasting their time if he ventured too far from the area specified.


Level 7 Valued Member
Matt - have you tried the Feldenkrais method? It came up here on another thread which led to me seeking further understanding. I really enjoy it, the actual lessons are very meditative without focusing on meditation and as the aim is to become more aware through movement I've experienced that awareness carry over into everyday stuff like my posture, sitting etc to being more aware and able to fine tune my movement in swings and get ups. You are aware of your own asymmetries, you may find the feldenkrais method very useful in resolving them, maybe or maybe not with the added benefit that it will not cause you any pain or discomfort.


Level 3 Valued Member
Hi Ali,

Thanks for the suggestion. I will investigate. I have a second massage this week, so I'll see how that goes.

Steve Freides

Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Matt, you might tell the person administering the massage what happened after the previous one and suggest he/she go a little easier. I don't think anyone would _want_ a person they were treating to have a reaction like that.



Level 3 Valued Member
Had a follow-up massage and feel great as per last time. Tomorrow will be more telling. Yet I had a chat with my therapist and am more confident that he understands some/most of the concepts I questioned above (however not from a FMS perspective). He probably assumes most of his clients don't want to understand these details. His reasoning for some of the discomfort I was feeling made sense - if you lengthen a muscle that has been tight for years! then the elongated muscle would be weaker at a full length because it hasn't been operating at this tension/length. Well - that intuitive idea - I probably haven't described it technically accurate.
And of course it is more complicated than just muscle A moving joint B. Fascia etc.
Yet he could see (after two weeks) that I have slightly adjusted to the previous treatment (meaning becoming more symmetrical) which is encouraging. I didn't do deadlifts before which probably added to last time's reaction (yet I did train - mix of goblets and OH press).

He said this time he could go a little deeper too - so while I saw your advice Steve I thought I would trust him after my initial chat with him. Interesting stuff - you can learn a lot about how muscles and strength "works". The fact that it weakened me the first time and so quickly means there's something to learn from that experience.
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