"What kind of pressure would you like?" Just about every massage therapist asks when talking to a new client. But there is a problem with this question. How much pressure a client wants, and how much pressure a client needs are not always the same. Our society has done a great job instilling the idea of "no pain, no gain," but a massage should not be painful.
While there are some therapeutic techniques that can get intense, and some muscles that tend to be a bit on the sensitive side - for the most part your massage experience should be comfortable. If you find yourself holding your breath, clenching muscles or tearing up the therapist is going too deep and you need to tell them to back off the pressure. On the flip-side, if it feels like the massage is tickling or just rubbing lotion on you, you may need to ask the therapist to increase pressure.
Either way, your therapist should comply with requests for changing the pressure with just one exception. Sometimes you and your tissues disagree. Your therapist can read your muscles and if your muscles say they've had enough pressure then your therapist will listen. Otherwise, it creates the potential for muscle injury. If you find that you feel like you got hit by a truck the day after a massage - it was too much, either too much pressure or too long of a massage. This is why communication with your therapist is so important both during and after your massage. Every body is different and tolerates treatments differently. One person may feel great after a 1 hour massage, but like they've been flattened by a bulldozer after a 2 hour massage. Then another person might regularly get a 3 hour massage and feel great afterwards every time.
So don't make your therapist guess, let them know any time you need the pressure adjusted. And know that whether you ask or not they may adjust the pressure if your muscles tell them to.