Deep tissue massage is a massage technique that uses some of the same techniques of classic massage therapy but modifies them to focus the pressure and movement into deeper layers of the muscle. This technique is designed to focus on painful areas that normal massage therapy typically cannot get to. It is specified for patients that find they have chronic pain in areas such as the neck, low back and shoulders. By using slow movement and more pressure, the therapy is concentrated into the areas that are sore, realigning the deep layers of muscle and connective tissue causing the pain.
How Does it Work?
Deep tissue therapy works by breaking up adhesions of muscle tissue and connective tissue that form when there is tension or an injury. These adhesions are painful rigid bands of tissue that can cause circulation blockage and pain as well as inflammation and limitations in movement of the affected area. Deep tissue physically breaks down these adhesions to improve range of motion and reduce the pain of the affected area. The therapist uses deep direct pressure as well as friction, moving perpendicular to the grain of the muscles involved.
Does it Hurt?
Many people are afraid of deep massage techniques because they are concerned about pain and discomfort. The techniques can be uncomfortable and at times painful, but a good deep tissue therapist will make sure their patient is comfortable in telling them if it hurts more than they can handle. There are times when these techniques will cause some residual soreness as well but it should get better after a day or two. Sometimes, the therapist will recommend ice for any painful areas that are worked on during a session.
Uses & Benefits
Deep tissue massage is not something should just be used for relaxation. It typically is used in correlation with classic therapy to relieve specific symptoms including chronic pain, limited mobility, sports and accident related injuries, repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, posture issues, Fibromyalgia and muscle spasms. In fact, according to a recent survey a group of people found deep tissue to be the most effective method of reducing Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia pain. With injuries that affect the patient’s range of motion, they often report immediate improvement after a deep massage.
During a deep tissue massage therapy session, the therapist may use anything from their fingertips to their elbows or forearms to help correct and alleviate the pain issues that the patient is seeking remedied. The therapist will often ask the patient to breathe deeply to help alleviate any pain that begins from the massage. Afterwards, they will insist that the patient consume plenty of water to help get rid of toxins and waste that is released from the massage.
Is it Right for Everyone?
Deep tissue is not recommended for people with skin diseases, rashes or open wounds as well as for people recovering from surgery. A doctor should be consulted if a client wants deep tissue but is having chemotherapy or radiation treatments as well as osteoporosis. People that are prone to blood clots should avoid this technique as the treatment could cause a clot to become dislodged leading to stroke or an embolism. Women that are pregnant should also consult a doctor before having a deep massage and should find a specialist that is certified in prenatal massages.