When I worked with adolescents and all the massage I did there was with a chaperone, it was almost always the young men that I saw who wanted less pressure. There, the young women seemed to not only tolerate a greater degree of pressure and a more vigorous massage but wanted this.
Now as it was a mental health unit I was working at it is possible that there was an element of using massage instead of self harm in some of these but I do not believe that to be the case.
Since setting up in private practice three years ago, I have not discerned any significant difference in the pressure desired by men and women.
Yet at a Christmas party yesterday, three of those present stated that they had found deep tissue massage extremely painful. One person said that they had not felt able to ask for less pressure. (I tell all my clients that it is OK to ask for more or less pressure if what I am doing is uncomfortable.)
One person present said they had had a deep tissue massage that was not at all painful.
I explained that before using deep tissue techniques it is important to really warm the muscles up properly first. To me this is similar to the need to warm up prior to strenuous exercise. – When I went to circus classes, I would always do a thorough warm up before the class.
If too much pressure is used too quickly it will be a lot more painful. That does not mean that massage is never painful. Many people talk of the concept of, “good pain” which I take to mean pain that one can tell is helping and will help one feel better afterwards.
Psychological pain is also possible, some people experience strong emotions due to earlier experiences during massage. If this happens with you I am happy to talk with you about your experience or not whichever you choose. I will not judge you for this. It is part of the normal range of reactions to therapeutic touch.
If you come to me for a massage, tell me what you would like, if I am causing pain that doesn’t feel right tell me or any other therapist! If they don’t listen to you and act on your feedback, I would suggest not paying them and certainly don’t use them again. The best feedback we can get is return customers or word of mouth referrals!