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How hard should a massage treatment be?

Sunday, 7 January 2018 09:30

It’s a bit of a myth that a sports massage has to be hard and painful to get the job done. A massage only needs to be firm enough for the area being worked to relax. As a therapist I’m feeling for what we call ‘tissue changes’. Quite literally, the area being worked on will feel different. The muscle will feel softer, warmer and more pliable, and massage only has to be hard enough to achieve this. If a treatment is too hard the patient will unintentionally tense their muscles and thus prevent proper manipulation. When I first started as a massage therapist I thought that harder must be better, but after many, many hours of practice I began to realise that it’s how and where the pressure is applied that makes the difference. I apply this principle to all treatments I perform, whether it be for a general tune up style treatment or for an injury or for dysfunctional movement patterns. As the customer, focus on how you feel after the treatment has finished. A good therapist will, or at least should have a plan that will finish with you feeling like it was all worthwhile.