People really believe that to get a good massage it has to hurt. Both while you’re getting it and the next day. I think of massage therapy as social justice work. We’re working one client, one human at a time to basically remind people that kindness is what their bodies need. What we’re doing when we’re being the most effective is listening to the body and being kind to it and giving it permission to feel less pain and to not work so hard.

-Lauren Cates, Founder of



When I think back to the first time I received a professional massage in 2005 at Kripalu Yoga Retreat Center where I was training to be a yoga teacher at the time, deep down what I was looking for was kindness. That is why I had started taking Kripalu yoga classes. And that was why I booked a massage. Of course I did not know this consciously. I just knew that I liked the way I felt at the end of class. I liked the words my teacher used. How spacious I felt on that massage therapist’s table.

And now in my bodywork practice, that is what I try to pass on to my clients. Kindness. I have seen that this also leads to pain relief and reduced anxiety, which is something we all need.

So let’s review:

Does pain equal gain when it comes to massage?


At some point I will do a longer post on the roots of this idea that “if it doesn’t hurt it’s not good,” but for now, let’s just sit with this: an effective massage is a kind massage.


Thank you Lauren and Healwell for getting this message out to the people!

Really let that sink in and notice the thoughts that come up when you do.

One more time for the people in the back, because this idea is so key and so different from what most of us have been taught about ourselves and about the world:

Pain does not equal gain. Kindness is what our bodies need in order to truly heal.

And this in a nutshell is why I practice bodywork.