What is Deep Tissue Massage?
Deep tissue massage uses firm pressure and slow strokes to reach deeper layers of muscle and fascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles). The ultimate reason is to break
away scar tissue (or “adhesions”) at the heart of your muscles that could either have formed from injury or prolonged wear and tear. Deep tissue massages utilize a variety of techniques that can help your sore muscles achieve repair and eliminate pain.
Deep Tissue Massage aims to relieve tension in the deeper layers of tissue. It is an aggressive technique that releases chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on contracted areas, either following or going across the grains of muscles, tendons and fascia. It is also a highly effective method for releasing chronic stress areas due to misalignment, repetitive motions, and past lingering injuries.
At certain points during the massage, you may feel some discomfort or even some pain. The reason being, various degrees of pressure are being applied to otherwise tight muscles that have issues lying dormant in your body. However, those everyday twinges of pain in your muscles can go away with just a few simple yet intense manoeuvres during a deep tissue massage. And sure that does lead to “more pain”, but that pain ultimately goes away. Most clients refer to it as a pain that “feels good”. If at any time during your massage session, the sensation is uncomfortable or painful, be sure to communicate this with your therapist. It’s not necessary to endure a painful session! It’s true that this type of massage therapy may cause some discomfort as the massage therapist releases trigger points deep in your body’s connective tissues, but only to a level that is acceptable to you. The therapist can employ different techniques or modalities on different areas of your body, saving the deepest treatment for only the most troublesome areas.
All too often, a client will come in and ask for a deep tissue massage thinking that it will solve all of their mysterious aches and pains that they have endured for years. While one massage can help a person feel better, it’s only a quick fix. In fact, undoing chronic knots and tension built up over an entire lifetime is best achieved with regular therapeutic massage sessions. This doesn’t mean you need weekly massages for life. Sometimes that nasty shoulder problem can be remedied with just a few sessions, however monthly maintenance massages are encouraged to remain pain free and mobile.
After the massage, you may feel some stiffness or soreness, but it should subside within a day or so. Be sure to contact your massage therapist if you have concerns or if you feel pain after having a massage.
It’s important to drink a lot of water after a deep tissue massage to help flush lactic acid out of the tissues. If you don’t, this could result in additional post massage soreness. It’s possible that you might feel some soreness the day after a deep tissue massage even if you DO drink water. It should pass within a day or so.
Conditions that can be treated with Deep Tissue massage
Deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific problem, such as chronic muscle pain, injury rehabilitation, and the following conditions:
- Low back pain
- Limited mobility
- Recovery from injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls)
- Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Postural problems
- Muscle tension in the hamstrings, glutes, IT band, legs, quadriceps, rhomboids, upper back
- Osteoarthritis pain
- Sports concerns (runners, athletes)
- Piriformis syndrome
- Tennis elbow
- Upper back or neck pain
Deep tissue massage may not be safe for people with blood clots (e.g. deep vein thrombosis), due to the risk that they may become dislodged. If you have blood clots or are at risk of forming blood clots, it’s essential that you consult your doctor first.
If you’ve had recent surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or any other medical procedure, it’s wise to check with your doctor before starting any massage therapy. Some people with osteoporosis should avoid the deeper pressure of this type of massage. Massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed or infected skin, skin rashes, unhealed or open wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, fragile bones, or areas of recent fractures.
Tips and after care
- Don’t eat a heavy meal before the massage
- If it’s your first time at the clinic, please arrive at least 10 minutes early to complete a medical history form. Otherwise arrive 5 minutes early so you can have a few minutes to
rest and relax before starting the massage treatment.
- Avoid strenuous activity after a massage
- Stretching can help to prevent muscle aches and pain after a deep tissue massage, you will be shown different stretching exercises and be given a hand out.
- Drinking water after the massage will help to flush out toxins that are released from muscles and properly hydrate muscles, which can help to reduce muscle aches and stiffness after a