Deep tissue massage is a type of massage aimed at the deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia, also called connective tissue. This type of massage is used for certain types of pain and chronic muscle tension. It is designed for those with chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, low back tightness, and sore shoulders. Some of the same strokes are used as classic massage therapy, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain.
How does deep tissue massage work?
When there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation. Deep tissue massage works by breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. Often the movements are directed across the grain of the muscles (cross-fiber) using the fingers, thumbs, or elbows. This is applied with greater pressure and at deeper layers of the muscle than Swedish massage and that is why it is called deep tissue.
Deep does not necessarily mean hard. With the proper technique, muscles deep in the body can be reached with a minimum of pressure for some.
Will deep tissue massage hurt?
At certain points during the massage, most people find there is usually some discomfort. It is important to tell the massage therapist when things hurt and if any soreness or pain you experience is outside your comfort range. I tell my clients to go by a scale of 1 to 10 with 7 as the most comfortable discomfort level and any thing higher you do not want. The client then has control over the level of intensity. There is usually some stiffness or pain after a deep tissue massage, but it should subside within a day or so. I recommend applying ice to the area after the massage or in the evening. This assists in the healing of the muscle even before the therapy was done. It is called crynotherapy.
What conditions is deep tissue massage used for?
Unlike classic massage therapy, which is used for relaxation, deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific problem, such as:
Recovery from injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls, sports injury)
Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
Muscle tension or spasm
What can I expect during my visit?
Massage therapists may use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during the deep tissue massage. You may be asked to breathe deeply as the massage therapist works on certain tense areas. People often notice improved range of motion immediately after a deep tissue massage. It is also important to drink plenty of water as you can after the massage to flush metabolic waste from the tissues.
How Fast Will I Get Results With A Deep Tissue Massage?
It is important to be realistic about what one massage can achieve. Many people ask for more pressure, thinking that if the therapist just pushes hard enough, they can get rid of all their knots in an hour. This just will not happen. In fact, undoing chronic knots and tension built up over a lifetime is best achieved with an integrated program that includes exercise, work on your posture and ways of moving, relaxation techniques and a regular program of massage.
Finally, while deep tissue is certainly valuable, you should be aware that gentle styles of massage like craniosacral therapy could also produce profound release and realignment in the body.
Massage is not recommended for certain people:
infectious skin disease, rash, or open wounds
immediately after surgery
immediately after chemotherapy or radiation, unless recommended by your doctor
people with osteoporosis should consult their doctor before getting a massage
Prone to blood clots. There is a risk of blood clots being dislodged. If you have heart disease, check with your doctor before having a massage
Pregnant women should check with their doctor first if they are considering getting a massage. Massage in pregnant women should be done by massage therapists who are certified in pregnancy massage.
Massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, or areas of recent fractures.
Some individuals either have a high pain tolerance or cannot feel very deep work. It is important to also know that the massage therapist knows what pressure can be applied to the area to be safe and affective.
Why some individuals do not feel deep tissue therapy or deep pressure is: they may be taking pain medicate, taking depression or prescription medication for emotions can limit the amount of what you feel, and even anger or aggression issues I have noticed in clients can cause this.
Do not eat a heavy meal before the massage. If it is your first time client of mine, arrive at least 10 minutes early to complete the necessary forms. Otherwise, arrive 5 minutes early so you can have a few minutes to rest and relax before starting the massage.
Deep Tissue Massage Therapy
Deep tissue ~ Trigger Point Massage
This massage deals with specific areas needing deep tissue work. For areas of knots and rehabilitation areas from accidents and over worked muscles.