Most schools teach a number scale usually around an optimum therapeutic zone (OTZ) that “hurts so good”. This is the pressure you give to maximize the benefits of the stroke. Usually this is a ten scale. One is feather touch, two to three is palpation, four to six starts to feel good, seven to eight hurts but still feels good, nine to ten just plain hurts. OTZ is when somebody says “oooh, right there!”
A lot of students don’t like to explain the number scale and stop using it. They resort to “how’s the pressure?” In response you almost always get a short monotone “it’s good.” It’s like you fed them a horrible dish and they know you’ll be offended if they didn’t like it. Staring at them with wide eyes you ask “how’s the hog rectum?” Sweat dripping slowly down their forehead they answer “it’s good.” You nod in agreement. That’s not how it should be. If you don’t use the number scale at least ask them “do you want me to use more pressure, less pressure, or the same? This stops them from copping out with “it’s good” response to “how’s the pressure” or “yes” response to “is the pressure good.”
Sometimes clients aren’t honest. Society taught them not to be honest to avoid confrontations. You may need to follow up with “could the pressure be better?” Remember it’s your responsibility to get an accurate pressure level from the client. And NO you can’t magically feel if you’re at the right level with experience. Don’t ask too often, but check two to four times during a relaxation massage. Check more often during a clinical massage.