|Copyright 2014 Mountain Meadow Massage Therapy. All rights reserved.
PO Box 297 Buena Vista, CO 81211
Depth and Pressure
Many people get confused over this issue. Depth in massage is how “deep” into the
tissue the therapist can sink. Pressure is the amount of force applied to the tissue. Most
people think you need a greater amount of pressure to get deeper into the tissue, but
this is not exactly true. There are three basic methods of obtaining depth.
1. Pressure: the greater the pressure the more depth. This method forces the tissue to
open and the system to reorganize. It shocks the system into disarray in order to
introduce more healthy and productive movement patterns. Deep Tissue body-workers,
Rolfers and Neuromuscular therapists tend to use a greater amount of pressure.
Therapists will often utilize elbows, feet, and massage tools (like fake fingers, stones,
wooden implements, etc.) to obtain more pressure without hurting their own hands.
Each practitioner has different strength and ability, so the amount of force, and the
perception of what is "deep" varies greatly.
2. Time: the slower you go the more depth can be reached. In this method you gently
push against a tissue barrier and then wait for the tissue to soften on its own. Once it
softens, you sink into the tissue again until another barrier is reached. The process is
repeated until the desired depth is reached. This method allows the body to release
itself rather than forcing it into submission. Myofascial Release, and Visceral
Manipulation practitioners tend to utilize this method more often.
3. Energy/Intention: This is the use of mindful awareness. It is a thought and energy
transference back and forth from the practitioner and the client. The practitioner feels
and wraps his/her thoughts around the tissue. Once the depth is reached in thought,
the practitioner is affecting the tissue through his/her intention towards it even if the
fingers cannot get there. The practitioner may introduce a cleansing energy to the
tissue, making the system aware of dysfunction and encouraging a return to
homeostasis. This is always done with the client's permission (there is no other way)
though it may not be verbal or even conscious. It is an inner dialog with the body itself
often without the consciousness getting in the way. This method may be most dramatic
in Reiki and Craniosacral work.
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