Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It is especially helpful for chronic aches and pains and contracted areas such as stiff neck and upper back, low back pain, leg muscle tightness, and sore shoulders.
Some of the same strokes are used as classic massage therapy, but the movement is slower, and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain in order to reach the sub-layer of muscles and the fascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles).
How Does It Work? Techniques
When there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation.
Muscles must be relaxed in order for the therapist to reach the deeper musculature.
Massage therapists may use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during the deep tissue massage.
You may be asked to breathe deeply as the massage therapist works on certain tense areas.
Does Deep Tissue Massage Hurt?
At certain points during the massage, most people find there is usually some discomfort and pain.
It is important to communicate to the therapist when things hurt and if any soreness or pain you experience is outside your comfort range.
There is usually some stiffness or pain after a deep tissue massage, but it should subside within a day or so. The massage therapist may recommend applying ice to the area after the massage.
Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific problem, such as chronic muscle pain, injury rehabilitation, and the following conditions:
• Chronic pain
• Lower back pain
• Recovery from injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls, sports injury)
• Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
• Postural problems
• Muscle tension in the hamstrings, glutes, IT band, legs, quadriceps, rhomboids, upper back
• Arthritis pain
• Muscle tension or spasm