Stress can easily become a problem when life’s pressures become overbearing. With the assistance of a licensed massage therapist, therapeutic massages may reduce stress levels and promote better health and relaxation. While massages, in general, may serve as a means to reduce stress, studies have suggested that moderate pressure appears to be necessary to take full advantage of massage therapy benefits.
The International Journal of Neuroscience published an article on the effects moderate pressure has on massage therapy. According to several studies, the stimulation of pressure receptors seems to mediate the diverse benefits noted for massage therapy. In one such study, a group of healthy adults were randomly assigned to three groups, each group receiving either: a moderate-pressure massage, a light-pressure massage, or a vibratory-stimulation massage. While there were reports of reduced anxiety for all three groups, the group receiving moderate pressure reported the most decrease in stress!
Are we implying massages have to be painful?
Absolutely not! Massage therapy is here to help you reduce stress and relieve your pain. While moderate pressure may be beneficial for massage therapy, not everyone may be comfortable with the same levels of pressure. A particular degree of pressure for one patient may be found as too light or too deep for another. Your massage session should not be one that is painful and uncomfortable, in reality, when pressure is above your pain threshold your body tenses up, making the massage therapy less effective.
During your massage session, your massage therapist should always check in on the pressure that is being applied and inquire about your comfort level. With your comfort in mind, it is customary for massage therapists to gradually increase pressure during the massage. Again, the increase in pressure is tailored to your comfort. "After a proper warm-up period for the muscle, deeper pressure may produce synaptic changes in the brain and spinal cord that lead to a reduction of both reflex activity and chronic pain.”
If you have an underlying health condition that might be negatively affected by moderate pressure, or you aren’t sure if moderate pressure is appropriate for you, you should always consult with your physician. Whether you prefer light, moderate, or deep pressure, the licensed massage therapists here at PRESS are conscientious and will work with you to make sure you feel comfortable throughout your session!