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Moderate vs light pressure in massage therapy

Moderate Vs Light Pressure in Massage Therapy

There have been various studies done on the issue of moderate vs. light pressure in massage therapy, and many have concluded that moderate pressure has a much more significant effect on the subject than light pressure. One study by Miami, Florida’s Touch Research Institute, which has provided a great deal of the current knowledge about the physiological and psychological effects of massage therapy, focused on adult EEGs and heart rate. The findings of this study found that when it comes to moderate vs. light pressure in massage therapy, moderate pressure is more effective than light.

One of the doctors involved with this study, Tiffany Field PhD, said that light pressure is experienced liked a tickle stimulus, whereas moderate pressure actually influences the flow of positive psychological change in the human body. She said that the findings of the study led them to the conclusion that moderate pressure is interpreted by the central nervous system differently and provides more long-term benefits.

When investigating moderate vs. light pressure in massage therapy, the Touch Research Institute also studied the effects of mechanical vibratory massage, utilizing EEG, electrocardiogram readings and self reporting of study subjects. They found that a decrease in faster alpha and beta waves coupled with an increase in the slower delta waves led to an increase in alertness and relaxation. Although all study subjects reported a reduction in anxiety and stress with the application of massage, it was most pronounced when moderate pressure was used in the massage.

So, although all types of massage are described as pleasant and relaxing, researchers have found that moderate pressure provides the greatest level of long lasting physical and psychological results for patients or clients. The massages that provide light pressure, which are common in spas and resorts, appear to have only minimal, temporary results for the reduction of stress and anxiety, while moderate pressure is able to provide a more long lasting and pronounced result. So, whether you’re going into the masseuse / masseur trade or just going to get a massage and considering the benefits of moderate vs. light pressure in massage therapy, it seems that moderate is the way to go.

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