Studying the Effect of Different Pressures When Doing Massage

Interested in participating in a formal massage research project? Read the following letter we received from Oregon LMT Ian Flannery. (In a few months Oregon School of Massage will ask Ian to tell us the story about his study…how it came to be and the results.)

Hello fellow LMTs,

I am collecting data for a research project through the Pacific University Exercise Science department and am requesting your participation. The purpose of the study is to measure and record the peak force and pressure applied by massage therapists while using different techniques. The body of research on the effects of massage is growing and massage if gaining recognition as an effective treatment for pain and injury recovery. Surprisingly, only a handful of studies have looked into the effects of different pressures of massage on variables like range of motion, motor neuron activity, self-reported pain, or others that we all believe are positively affected by massage. In fact, little is known about the pressures applied by therapists during treatments in order to guide research design. This study will provide a valuable reference describing what kinds of pressures are being applied during a typical massage session and will help future researchers design more applicable and generalizable studies.

I’m looking for a total of 30 LMTs who have been licensed and practicing for at least one year. Your time commitment will consist of one session of approximately 90 minutes at a location in North Portland. After filling out some paperwork, you will be asked to perform effleurage, petrissage, compression, tapotement, friction, and vibration on a custom built platform outfitted with force transducers (you do not have to regularly use all of the techniques in your practice as long as you can perform them consistently and accurately). An ink print will be taken of your hand, elbow, forearm, etc to calculate the surface area used to apply each technique, which is necessary to calculate the pressure.

This is a great opportunity to be involved in the research that further validates our work and I would greatly appreciate your participation. If you are interested, please contact Ian Flannery by email at or by phone at 503-318-5202.

Thank your participation,

Ian Flannery, LMT
OR Lic# 15513

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  1. JJ Hardy says:

    This is exciting! I am super curious how the results will come out!

  2. Gary Hulett says:

    I would like to participate in this study. I have had my license for 4 years. I work in Salem.

    What about the variables? Each client is different. The pressure used can and will be different for each. Sometimes the pressure is slow and deep while other times it can be quick and very surface.

    This posting was forwarded to me by another LMT.