What is Deep Tissue Massage Therapy?
Deep Tissue Massage is applied in a systematic way, concentrating on
the deeper layers of the body’s soft tissues. It aims to release chronic
patterns of tension in the body, through slow strokes
and deep pressure
on the contracted areas. Deep
tissue massage therapy is therapeutic as
corrective and done properly should cause neither excessive
pain for the client nor strain for the therapist. Working deeply does not
equate with working harder or with more effort, but is the result of
specific deep tissue massage techniques combined with knowledge of
the different layers of the body’s soft tissues.
This is a term often used by therapists
to indicate that they use strong
pressure and won’t
just be stroking oil onto the skin. However deep
work is not just about the amount of pressure used; it’s true
intention is to work on all the layers of the body’s soft tissues and
particularly the structure which covers and encases them – the fascia.
Injury, illness or prolonged immobility can cause fascia to become stiff,
hardened or stuck to adjacent structures. This in turn causes pain,
reduced mobility and impaired function. Portions of a treatment can be
uncomfortable at times with the possibility of pain, however, a good
massage therapist should always respect your pain tolerance levels and
will work with you to find a level of pressure that is comfortable for you.
Massage techniques include the use of knuckles, fists, elbows and
forearms. The pace of a deep tissue massage session is usually slower
than that of other massage work to enable the therapist to pick up
information from the client’s tissues, assess the best way to address the
tension and contractions found and apply careful and sensitive pressure
in order to achieve a comfortable and lasting release.
How does it work?
and stiffness in the muscles and joints can be caused by long-term
muscle tension, postural imbalance, overuse and injury. All these things
can cause muscle fibres to become shortened, tiny pockets of scar tissue
to form (fibrosis) and larger areas of scar tissue will get laid down as an
injury heals. Shortened muscle fibres also result in reduced blood flow
to the area and inefficient removal of metabolic waste products by the
lymphatic system. The net result of this is areas of the soft tissues that
become stiff, hardened, and “glued together” in contracted bands –
adhesions. Normal movement becomes impossible and stiffness and
pain set in. Deep tissue massage works by gently but firmly working
across these bands to separate the tissues again, to lengthen shortened
and contracted soft tissue structures, and to encourage efficient
circulation to and from the affected area.
Who benefits from Deep Tissue Massage Therapy?
type of massage is highly beneficial for people who suffer from
consistent muscle pain, especially in the muscles around the neck, lower
back and shoulders. This can be caused by work related postural
problems, leisure activities such as gardening, sports and exercise
related injuries and can also be the end-result of long-term emotional
stress and tension.
The benefits of Deep Tissue Massage include:
- release of tension and stiffness from muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and fascia
- pain relief
- pain management
- increased flexibility
- breaks down old scar tissue and adhesions
- improved mobility, posture and physical performance
more efficient recovery from injury and surgery
What to expect during and after a session
The technique usually
focuses on specific areas. It can be offered in
combination with other styles of massage, as a whole-body treatment or
one area, for example the lower back or shoulders. Your
therapist will work with you to find a comfortable level
of pressure and
will work with your breathing to help minimize discomfort and get the
best possible release from the tissues. When a deep tissue
done correctly, the benefits are experienced within the next few days.
You may feel rejuvenated or a bit sore, depending on the
therapy session. Any stiffness or pain experienced after a deep tissue
massage is a completely normal reaction and should subside
It is advisable to rest and relax as much as possible after your deep
tissue massage treatment, take a warm bath and drink lots
and/or herbal teas in order to help the body eliminate any waste
products that have been released from the soft tissues. Avoiding
and alcohol is also to be recommended for the same reasons.