The experience of massage can be SENSATIONAL and is often experienced as sensations of comfort, pain, relief, achiness, having the memory of an injury when it occured, to name but a few.
These are all part of the healing process which massage aims to facilitate. The client will often feed back on how the massage is feeling, as it progresses, guiding the practitioner in their work. Working on old/chronic tension & postural issues can be painful, but if the pain can be willingly experienced more as a sensation, then I may hear the client say that it is "a good pain". and that feels like it is releasing tension. It is deeply rewarding to hear the client say this. This can also be reflected by the quality of softness I can now feel in the tissues.
Thus we are able to let go of the tensions we are carrying/holding........giving rise to a new sensation of RELAXATION that may not have been felt before. This is often felt after the massage session has finished. And that can truly feel SENSATIONAL!!!
It's not pain if you are not trying to resist it or get away from it. It's a feeling, but not necessarily pain, and it's not something that we have to deny. We can also create pain by our thoughts about the pain.
It's useful because we can become pain-free, by working with it. Otherwise it can remain unresolved, lurking in the shadows. We can acknowledge that we have been caused pain or stress in life, without any judgement. And accept that it is present, in the same way that we experience painful emotions.
Palpation (or touch) can mediate between the body and mind to change how a client feels about me working on their body during a massage session. One client informed me that her calf felt like it was about to cramp and on first touching it, her calf flinched. I spoke to her so that her body "could hear" this. My training in Bodymind Therapeutic Massage taught me that if the body/muscles could talk, then this is literally what they might say.
On returning to the calf I simply held it, and noticed that it had yielded, and the client said that now she felt completely different about me working on it. How the body responds to being touched, and having a dialogue with or "listening" to it, is at the core of my massage therapy. The body needs to be touched, actually craves it, and responds to being soothed. An innate desire to rub and make better is something we intuitively did as children when we were hurt.
And as adults, when we experience an injury or trauma, gentle palpation or listening to how that part of the body feels, will let me know what it needs to recover and feel healed. This is our Bodymind.