This massage works the deeper layers of muscle tissue and is great for relieving tightly contracted muscles and adhered connective tissue. Newcomers to deep tissue massage are encouraged to start slowly and become acclimated.
What Is Deep Tissue Massage? Deep tissue massage therapy focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. The strokes used are similar to those used in classic massage therapy strokes, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper. The massage therapist may use hot stones, fingertips, thumbs, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during the deep tissue massage. At certain points, you may be asked to breathe deeply in coordination with the strokes of the massage therapist.
Who Might Be Helped By Deep Tissue Massage?
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, tightness, or spasm
Chronic muscle tension or injury is usually accompanied by adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation. The therapist works to physically break down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement, using direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles.
Will Deep Tissue Massage Hurt? Many people find there is usually some discomfort and pain. The massage therapist will ask you to give feedback when things hurt and if any soreness or pain you experience is outside your comfort range.
After your deep tissue massage, there is usually some stiffness or pain but it should subside within a day or so. The massage therapist may recommend that you apply ice to the area after the massage. It is important to drink as much water as you can after the massage to flush metabolic waste from the tissues.
How Effective Is Deep Tissue Massage? According to the August 2005 issue of Consumer Reports magazine, 34,000 people ranked deep tissue massage more effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescription medications, chiropractic, acupuncture, diet, glucosamine and over-the-counter drugs. Deep tissue massage also received a top ranking for fibromyalgia pain. People often notice improved range of motion immediately after a deep tissue massage.