Is It Normal to Cry During Massage?

Some people may start laughing during a massage.
Deep tissue massages can cause crying and a variety of other reactions.
A professional massage therapist should be understanding if a client cries during a session.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 11 August 2014
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While it may not be entirely normal to cry during massage, it is not unexpected. Many people experience strong emotional or physical reactions to massage sessions, and massage therapists are usually prepared for different situations. People should certainly not be embarrassed if they start to cry during a massage, as the massage therapist has undoubtedly seen it before.

In the case of crying because of pain, crying while getting a massage is definitely not normal, and the massage therapist should be alerted. Pain during a massage session is very counterproductive, as it causes the muscles to tense, often erasing the work of the massage therapist and making the session somewhat pointless. If a massage is hitting a tender spot or the therapist is going too deep, this should be communicated, so that the massage can be adjusted.

Some people experience tears during massage with no emotion linked to them, while others may experience a wave of sadness or happiness which triggers crying. The massage therapist may stop to provide a tissue and ask if the client wants to take a break, or he or she may keep working until directed otherwise. When people cry during massage, it usually indicates a significant emotional release, and after the crying is over, people often feel much better. Especially for emotionally tense individuals, the cathartic release of crying, even for no obvious reason, can be very beneficial.

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In addition to crying, other reactions may appear during a massage session. Some people burst into laughter, for example, especially if a therapist is working on a ticklish spot. Farting and abdominal grumblings are also not unknown, especially in deep tissue massage, where the organs may move around a bit as the massage therapist works. Farting is especially common in massage styles which involve stretching, and it also crops up in yoga classes. Sometimes physical arousal also occurs during massage, in which case it is generally polite for the client to ask for a brief break to relax, settle down, and drink some water, though the reason need not be specified.

If you know that you cry during massage, it can be a good idea to warn a new massage therapist, so that he or she is prepared for it if it happens. You can also express a desire for what you want the massage therapist to do if you begin to cry. Most therapists appreciate the warning and the advance directions so they know what to do if a new client does cry during massage.

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Discuss this Article

anon954270
Post 11

It sounds super weird, but I only cry when I get massaged by a male therapist. It's not a bad thing; it's really comforting. In fact, it's the only time I feel crying is comforting instead of terrible when I cry.

runner101
Post 10

I heard about crying during a massage on Oprah! I had no idea about it and wondered how common it was. Oprah said she had cried during her massage for the cathartic emotional reasons and not the pain reasons, and she felt amazing after the massage.

I do not know that I will cry during a massage but I have always thought of them as a stress reliever so I could see in that releasing of the stress that it could cause some tears.

Massage seems to be a wonderful tool for overall good physical and emotional health. Now if I could just talk my husband into giving me more of them!

Mykol
Post 9

I visit my massage therapist every four weeks. After about three weeks have gone by, I can tell that I am due for another one. All the emotional tension and physical work that I do builds up in the neck, shoulders and all the way down my back.

Many times she will come across very tender spots when she is doing some deep tissue work. She can immediately sense this and will quickly do some counter active work that immediately reduces the discomfort of these tender areas.

There have been many times that I have been close to tears, and I don't know if it is from the release of this pain, or an emotional response. All I know is how much better I feel when I walk out the door.

She mentioned to me once that she has a few clients who do cry when they receive their massage. Being aware of this as a massage therapist and knowing how to deal with it, can only help your patients feel more comfortable.

honeybees
Post 8

If something seems embarrassing to you, that usually means that others have experienced that same thing too. I have never cried during a massage, but can understand why it could easily happen.

When I go to my massage therapist, I have my choice of listening to music and I always choose something that is soft and soothing.

When you combine this music with the atmosphere in the room and the therapy of touch, many emotions are being released and tears are one natural way to release emotion.

The emotional release that you experience after a few tears, along with the improved physical feeling would really make a massage a beneficial experience.

chivebasil
Post 7

It may not be normal but I have definitely done it. And the weird thing was that it was not linked to any specific emotion. I did not feel an overwhelming sense of sadness or happiness or even calm. It almost just started coming out of my body the way a sneeze does or a shiver. The masseuse took it in stride. I guess it wasn't the first time a client was relaxed to the point of tears

manykitties2
Post 6

I think it is completely normal to cry during massage. I actually am one of those people that tends to sniffle my way through a massage, even if it doesn't hurt at all. I feel it is almost a cleansing experience.

I have tried a lot of massages and it seems to me that only those that had a deep sweeping motion really seemed to cause me to tear up. I am not sure if this is completely psychological or not.

I have read a bit and some people seem to think that certain massages actually remove toxins from your body. This process can apparently bring about crying and other emotional reactions.

wander
Post 5

The only time I have ever cried during a massage was when I was getting my first massage at a Chinese parlor. I was used to the softer Thai massages and was pretty shocked at how deep the Chinese masseuse went. I felt like they were rubbing my organs.

Pretty much the whole experience made my eyes water, though I did feel pretty good afterward. That masseuse certainly knew how to get all of the kinks out of my tired and aching body.

One of the hardest places for me to get massaged was my shoulders. It honestly felt like the masseuse was digging into my very skin. But I think for the relief I felt later it was worth it.

SteamLouis
Post 4

@alisha-- That is so true! I feel that way when I hug my grandpa. I grew up without a dad and hugging my grandpa has always given me feelings of comfort and security that makes me cry.

I can totally see how the same thing can happen during a massage, especially if you've been going to the same therapist for a long time and feel that they've gotten to know you.

I go to massage from time to time but usually to different therapists. This makes me want to find one and stick to it. And I think of massage as physical treatment. I wouldn't feel ashamed to cry in front of the massage therapist just as I don't feel ashamed to cry in front of my doctor. But I also completely understand those who might feel vulnerable and would want to resist that.

discographer
Post 3

They say that emotional releases like crying during massage only happens if you really trust your massage therapist and perhaps even feel a close connection with them.

I personally think that crying during massage is normal, even desirable because I believe that "touch" has a direct influence on our emotional state. My mom for example tends to be very stressed and overactive and all of it builds up in her neck area. When she receives massage, that tension and build up disappear.

The same is true if someone is having a hard time emotionally, going through a depression, maybe going through a hard time in their life or have problems expressing their emotions in general, it can all come out during a massage.

Why do we cry or feel emotional when a loved one hugs us? This is the same reason I become emotional and cry during massage.

umbra21
Post 2

I have never cried during a massage, but I imagine it is kind of the same thing as crying while you run. I've done that a couple of times.

Generally, you won't even be thinking about anything, and suddenly, you'll be crying.

The first time I sat down and had a little sob on a park bench, but the second time I kept going. I guess it is just an emotional release, and probably it's the exact same thing with massages.

I would personally just as the masseuse to keep going, so I could really try to just work out the emotion and feel better.

lluviaporos
Post 1

I have certainly experienced pain during a massage. The problem is, it's difficult for someone who isn't used to getting a massage to know how much pain is too much.

Because I was told to expect some pain, particularly with a deep tissue massage. For a while I just sat there and took it, because I thought I shouldn't speak up.

But, once I did, my masseuse made me much more comfortable. So, yeah, don't sit there with tears coming out. Speak up and see what can be done. A massage is supposed to be an enjoyable experience.

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