Massage therapy requires the application of pressure to achieve its many benefits. However, there is such a thing as too much pressure. Learning how much pressure is enough will help you harness the benefits of massage therapy without experiencing harmful effects.

Benefit of Pressure During Massage Therapy

The purpose of massage therapy is to apply physical pressure to the muscles and ligaments of your body. Massage has a therapeutic purpose; when performed correctly, it can alleviate pain and promote healing.

One of the primary responses to massage therapy is a relaxation response. When muscle tissue contracts, it can become compressed and undergo spasms. This may constrict nerves, leading to chronic pain. Applying pressure during massage releases the pressure built up in muscles, tendons and ligaments. This often relieves any nerve compression, reducing pain.

At the same time, massage therapy promotes good circulation. Applying pressure to soft tissue helps to stimulate blood flow and lymph circulation in the area. This delivers oxygen and other nutrients to nearby cells. For individuals who have experienced an orthopedic injury, the pressure applied during massage therapy can accelerate healing time. As tissues begin to function more physical therapistefficiently, they remove waste and absorb fluids, reducing swelling associated with injury.

When Getting a Massage, How Much Pressure Is Enough?

These healing aspects of massage therapy are impossible without the application of pressure. However, there is an “art” to massage therapy. Too little pressure can inhibit the rate of healing, while too much pressure is unnecessary and may even damage soft tissues.

Every person has a different pain threshold, which makes it difficult to set a hard limit for how much pressure is too much. However, massage therapy should never feel acutely painful. If you feel a sharp pain during massage, the therapist is applying too much pressure. Similarly, although you may feel some soreness after a massage, it should result in a deeply relaxed feeling rather than lingering pain. Always remember that you can stop your massage therapist at any time. Letting the person know about any tender areas can prevent the massage from becoming painful.

Of course, the best thing you can do when getting a massage is to choose a good massage therapist. At Southeast Orthopedic Specialists, our physical therapy experts are skilled in the use of massage techniques to promote healing from orthopedic injury. Don’t spend time on massage therapy that doesn’t actually work. Instead, call Southeast Orthopedic Specialists today to set up an appointment with one of our experts.

Return to Blog