Using pressure to specific areas where muscle tightness is present can be an effective form of self-massage. One of the many good things with “pressures” is that they can be done effectively without the use of massage oils and can also be implemented through clothes.

These pressure holds are fairly deep that dig into the tissues and are done with the pads of your fingers or thumbs. If your hands get fatigued you can also use the heel of the hand for support, or even your elbows for certain bigger spots like the thighs. Unlike stroking and kneading, the fingers should not glide over the skin but should be focused almost solely in how pressure is being applied and released. Self-massage tools are quite useful when carrying out pressures, as these unburden your fingers and thumbs from too much manual work.

How to do it

Essentially there are two main ways of doing pressures, static and circular.

Static pressures

  • First choose a single point where you feel tension, then apply pressure to that spot with your finger or thumb for a count of 3-5 seconds; proceed then by gradually and gently releasing the pressure. Move to the next area when your done with that point.
  • To increase the pressure applied, try placing a second finger on top or beside your first finger when applying pressure.
  • Inhaling when you apply pressure and exhaling when you release pressure is a good way of boosting your focus and aligning your body with your mind.

Circular pressures

  • Apply pressure in a circular motion by moving the skin against the underlying tissue, do this while you gradually add to the pressure as your fingers/thumb dig deeper into the area. Slowly release the pressure when you’re done and move to the next area.
  • Modify the size and depth of the circular motions depending on the area of focus and the tightness present.
  • Note: The finger or thumb should not move/glide upon the skin but should instead be moving the skin along with the circular motions. This is the main difference between other rotational massages where pressure is added and subtracted as you glide circularly on skin.

Where to apply

Pressures can be applied to most parts of the body, but are especially good where more muscle tissue is present and around joints. However sensitive and delicate areas should generally be avoided, like for example the stomach or the breasts if you’re a woman. When performing deep pressures, make sure you prime that area first by gentle massaging with light strokes.


If you want to release tension in and around the knees, static pressures are great for that, which also helps with mobility.

Lower arm and wrists

Static pressures applied on the lower arm and wrists helps release the tension and rigidity that so often builds up when working by the desk, whether in front of a computer screen or when writing with a pen for longer hours.


The temples are the best place to apply circular pressures, this helps relieve tension in and around an area where tense muscles are often responsible of headaches and eyestrain.

Feet and ankles

Feet and ankles are great for both static and circular pressures. If you are a person that walks or runs a lot everyday, consider applying both circular and static pressures upon the soles of your feel.

Foot massage woman

Benefits of pressure massage

We all have tense and tight spots in the body, spots where adhesions in the muscle fibers build up during the day and as the years go by. Deep pressures are especially helpful in these cases, but they can also be good when it comes to improving overall mobility. Lighter pressures can be good to dissolve tensions in and around the face.

Generally speaking, like all other forms of massage, pressures help improve the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids in and around the area that is being massaged, this promotes healing by allowing oxygen and other nutrients to work their medicine while simultaneously aiding in the flushing out of excess fluids and waste products stored up in the body.