Deep Tissue Massage
What is Deep Tissue Massage?
Deep tissue massage is a type of massage aimed at the deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia (connective tissue). It is used to treat chronic tension or injuries from overuse. Some of the techniques used are the same as in classic (Swedish) massage, but the pace tends to be slower with stronger pressure applied to problem areas using more focused techniques to release chronic muscle tension or knots. Therapists might use thumbs, fingertips, knuckles, forearms and elbows to break-up adhesions where bands of rigid tissue are causing pain or inflammation and restricting movement and/or circulation. Deep tissue massage works to realign the different layers of tissue, treating the tendons, ligaments and fascia as well as the muscles to release tension and provide pain relief.
Is it for me?
If you're suffering from tension and aches that cannot be solved by a classic Swedish massage then a deep tissue massage might be the answer you're looking for. Deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific area or problem, such as chronic muscle pain, sciatica, muscle tension or spasm in the glutes, hamstrings, quads, rhomboids, IT band and upper back. The benefits don’t only relate to muscles and pain. Deep tissue massage treatment can also lower blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormone levels. Massage therapy in general is extremely good for the mind as well as the body, boosting mood and helping you relax.
It's important to be realistic about what a deep tissue massage can achieve. Many people ask for more pressure thinking that if the therapist pushes hard enough they can get rid of all their knots in an hour. This just won't happen. 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 how you move, relaxation techniques and a regular program of massage.
Does it hurt?
It shouldn't hurt, but it's likely to be a bit more uncomfortable than a lighter style Swedish massage, especially if you have large or chronic knots. At certain points during a treatment most people do experience some discomfort as the pressure is deep and direct on painful or injured areas. Scar tissue is being loosened and muscles lengthened, knots are being undone and sub-layers of muscle moved back into the right place.
Taking a deep breath when tense areas are tackled can help, and it’s important to tell your massage therapist if the soreness becomes too much. There’s great benefit in having multiple treatments and giving your body a chance to adjust.
What should I do after the massage treatment?
You will often experience stiffness or tenderness after a deep tissue massage for a day or two. Stretching can help to reduce this, and you can also put ice on any painful areas.
Drinking plenty of water is essential as it will help rehydrate muscles and flush out toxins that are released during the massage treatment. It’s also important to avoid strenuous exercise for at least 12 hours after a treatment.