Deep Pressure Massage

Should Your Deep Pressure Massage Hurt?

There are many types of massage therapy, and it can be hard to remember what to expect for each. However, deep massage is one variation where it's important to know what it is and how it works because you could wind up in a lot more pain than you anticipated.

What is Deep Massage?

Deep massage, also known as deep pressure massage, uses very firm pressure and slow, smooth strokes to reach the deeper layers of muscle and the pressures surrounding those muscles. In general, those with tension or perpetually tight areas benefit most from this type of massage.

Should it Hurt?

Before that question can be addressed, let's talk about how a deep massage works.

First, this is not the same as a deep tissue massage, which is used to repair tissue fiber and is more intense and painful. Instead, deep pressure massage is applied to the whole body and encourages muscles to relax to help relieve aches and pains.

This brings us back to the question of whether or not this type of massage should hurt. The answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no, however.

The short answer is that it may hurt a little. The better answer is that, while pain is common, the type of pain and its severity are what you should pay attention to.

Pain Thresholds

Most licensed massage therapists will tell you that there is almost never a reason for a massage to be extremely painful. However, it's also important for you to be honest with yourself and your massage therapist when it comes to your pain threshold.

Every person has a different tolerance for pain and pressure, and you should make yours clear before any massage. It's the massage therapist's job to deliver the best experience possible for you, so open communication and respect are integral parts of the session.

In regards to how much a deep pressure massage should hurt, there are three general categories of pain to consider:

1. "Good" Pain

Good pain happens when you're feeling an intense pressure, but you instinctively know that it's offering relief too. This is the sweet spot for therapeutic massage.

2. "Bad" Pain

This has probably happened to anyone who has had massages regularly. "Bad pain" is usually sharp or burning and can happen when there's excessive pressure. It likely won't cause any damage, but it's unpleasant and doesn't offer any real benefits, either.

3. Unnecessary Pain

There is never a reason for this level of pain in massage therapy. This can happen when the massage therapist is inattentive or ignores your pain signals.

Deep massage should ideally fall into the "good pain" category. There may be moments of discomfort, and it's normal to feel sore or achy for a day or so afterward.

In fact, it's common to experience the pain "getting worse before it gets better." However, a deep massage should not cause long-term pain or make you feel like you've been hit by a truck. The goal is to alleviate chronic pain or stiffness and improve circulation and range of motion.

Contact Vita Wellness Massage Today

At Vita Wellness, our licensed massage therapists can work with you to provide a comfortable, therapeutic deep massage. Contact us today to book your session at our South Austin massage boutique!


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  • Windsong Business Park
  • 2111 Dickson Dr., Suite # 12
  • Austin, TX 78704