Developing a good rhythm is an important part of massage. It not only creates a more flowing technique, but also enables the patient to anticipate the stroke and relax into it better.
Speed is one of the key variables in creating the desired overall effect of massage. Generally a slow pace is more relaxing and a fast pace more stimulating. When applying deep massage techniques it is important to work slowly. Not only does this allow good observation on a very detailed level, but also enables the patient to cope better with the technique. A fast, deep stroke can cause a sudden sharp pain when it hits a lesion, and this can result in local or general reflex muscle contraction, which prevents good treatment. By working slowly, the patient has time to prepare and relax into the stroke or friction and to suppress reflex activity. This also enables a neuromuscular reaction to take place.