When I was a teenager, I felt like an old woman. 

I couldn't understand why my body ached; why I had strange pains that came and went...or came and lasted for weeks, limiting my mobility, and went...I thought maybe every body hurt, and that those people were coping better than I was...

My attitude was curmudgeonly, too; which makes sense...being in pain for no apparent reason is irritating, on many levels.

Had I actually DONE something to hurt myself--well, that was logical. Pain for no apparent reason? Maddening. Exhausting. Inexplicable. Hopeless. And ever so distracting; drawing me inward: my mind focused on internal discomfort.

When I chose the massage field, I decided to use my chronic pain to help others. I "understood" connections in the body from an insider perspective, thanks to the internal noise that made me aware of them.

"Noise." That's how I chose to perceive what I had formerly interpreted as "pain," so that I could better cope with the intense signals/messages being sent throughout my body.

Eventually I stumbled upon "Myofascial Pain Syndrome" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myofascial_pain_syndrome), and the pieces fell into place.

MPS is a chronic condition; my symptoms tend to flare up when stress increases, or when I engage in an activity that irritates my fascial network. Over the last 15 years, I've been learning what works for me, and what doesn't.

Gratitude is one the tools in my box that I find incredibly effective. I found gratitude for my discomfort, because it contributed to me being a better therapist...MPS has helped increase my awareness. Coping with it has led me to tools.

Every massage therapist needs to get massage, as well. The work we provide is very physical. 

I avoided regular massage, for years; I consciously didn't know I had become ambivalent to receiving body work...but it makes sense...almost every time I got a massage, I was in pain for days after. Trigger points would get stirred up, or I'd have muscle spasms that sent burning pain radiating in multiple directions when I moved. I didn't like having to recover from receiving a massage; it was easier to cope with a "set" level of discomfort that I could more easily detach/distance myself from.

Eventually, I convinced the therapist I was trading with semi-regularly to start me face up, and open up the chest before working on my shoulders, neck and back; and to approach my tissues gently....and my body relaxed. The tissues softened up. My body felt loose after the session, with increased mobility...and without need to recover.

I've learned what is "too deep" for my body the hard way--not speaking up because I thought maybe I needed that much pressure, breathing through the burning sensation that was "just mild," and hoping my body would respond well...and felt okay immediately after the session...but then spend the rest of week feeling stiff and constricted, and needing to self-treat stirred up trigger points noisily irritating my body & limiting my mobility/function. 

The constriction I experience after a "too deep" session, is fascial recoil. 

My personal theory is that individuals who experience MPS may have nervous systems/pressure gauges that are tuned too sensitively. Our nerves are overly receptive, and may overreact to pressure--triggering danger signals that turn up the sensitivity EVEN MORE, resulting in discomfort that is intense and has seemingly no reasonable cause. 

If the pressure applied to the body is too intense for the fascia, it will tighten--perhaps in attempt to protect the body--which tightens the entire fascial web. The body's tissues may experience unnecessary (not in actual danger) constriction/tension for a long enough period to experience oxygen deprivation, which triggers more danger signals, and resullts in more tension. 

Fascial recoil can be avoided by approaching the body gently.

I understand that people without MPS don't experience pressure the same way I do; but I suspect that they may be experiencing fascial recoil after receiving what the more general market considers "deep tissue" massage--because they have to "recover" after their sessions.

My clients don't have to wait a few days to feel better after their massage, because there is no need for recovery. They feel good, and that feeling of wellness may last 2-3 weeks before their bodies start to distract them from life.

I'm grateful to understand my body better, so that I may communicate my needs better, and honor my body; and also, so that I may provide better service and care to my clients.

I'm also grateful that I'm learning/accepting that my bandwidth is more limited than that of individuals who don't experience chronic pain, and that I'm okay with it. i have more focus...there's less to be distracted by when there are less viable options, and it's given me objectives to work toward...mainly, finding and sharing tools and ideas that benefit other people as well as me.

Fascial recoil is the body communicating. 

I'm listening.