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Massage pressure
Melissa Kok
Broome, Australia
Forum Posts: 26
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June 12, 2015
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January 7, 2016 - 4:40 pm
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 Hi all,

I struggle with the pressure that I give during the massages... I try to use my body weight and when I go slowly into the muscle and give full body weight pressure I still sometimes get the feedback that I can give more pressure but then I have to use my muscles... I know I am very gentle in my massages and when my mind thinks it is a lot of pressure it can be still quite gentle so it is a challenge for me. 

In my approach I try to look at the clients body posture to have an idea how much pressure they can handle. When people are a bit more firm I give more pressure. Most of the time these are the people who say they can have a bit more. But what can I do if I ask if the pressure is ok during a treatment and I give my best and they think it can be more? It makes me unsure. I guess there are many people who are not connected and gentle with their body and they often want a hard pressure but I don't think that's it all the time. 

I also had the experience last week that I had a client who became very pale and cold (while it was 30 degrees), his blood pressure was very low. We used a blanket and he had warm clothes on. I asked him a few times if he felt ok. He said yes. But my mind said he does not look good. So I gave him a gentle massage. Afterwards he also gave me the feedback I could use more pressure. I probably had to ask him the pressure feedback during the massage but I reacted intuitively... but that was wrong... 

Like to hear your experiences and maybe you have some advice for me 🙂

Shama Kern
Forum Posts: 7027
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June 28, 2010
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January 8, 2016 - 1:14 am
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Melissa, you NEVER want to increase pressure by using muscle power. We ONLY work with body weight as much as possible. The trick to get more pressure and more power is to use your body weight more effectively and to its full advantage. This is done by tweaking your ergonomics

Here in Thailand there are thousands of female Thai Massage therapists who are small and light. However they can make a much larger man cry with their pressure. Smile

Extra power can be accomplished by switching to different techniques where you can use other body parts like forearms, elbows, knees and feet. There is a limit to how much pressure you can apply with your hands. The big advantage of Thai Massage is that you can use so many different body parts. 

There are some techniques which are quite hard to do if you are quite small and light yourself, and you work on a large and heavy client. In such cases it is often advised to skip such techniques and choose techniques that lend themselves to more power. 

For example if you are working on the back with your palms and the client wants more power, you can switch to using your knuckles and/or your elbows or knees instead. I often use the heel of my foot to rock the lower back. You always have enough power with your heel on the lower back. You also always have enough power with your elbows or knees on the back.

If you work on a much larger person, then don't try to do stretches which are too difficult to do. Just skip them and do something else which is easier on you. 

Then there are the people who are under the illusion that no-pain-no-gain is a valid treatment approach. Rather than trying to change their mind (which is difficult), use some power techniques on them to satisfy their craving for deep work. And then inject some comments that gently erode their misconception, but don't make it seem like their opinion is wrong in order to avoid resistance.

These are some ideas. I hope they help you. If you have any specific techniques in mind where you think that you are not getting enough power, let me know and I will see if I can suggest modifications or alternatives.

By the way, are you working on a floor mat or on the table?

Melissa Kok
Broome, Australia
Forum Posts: 26
Member Since:
June 12, 2015
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January 8, 2016 - 1:56 pm
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Thank you for your reply Shama. I think this is very helpful!

I will focus more on my ergonomics, that might be a good one. And use other body parts as the knuckles, elbows and knees... 

Let's see how I go now and next time when I get the feedback of the wish to get more pressure I will give you some specific techniques as example. 

Ow and I work on a floor mat 🙂

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