Deep tissue massage instigates a greater tension relieving response than a classic massage by concentrating on posterior (deeper) muscles. It uses a mix of classic massage strokes, with increased pressure, typically following the muscle from insertion to origin. The aim is to reduce muscle tension by releasing knots and restoring elasticity. Deep tissue massage is also designed to increase blood flow to targeted muscles, kick-starting the body’s natural healing process.
Who would benefit from a deep tissue massage?
Deep tissue massage is one the most popular choices of massage as it can suit many individuals, helping to ease pain and stiffness in a variety of scenarios. It is not just for athletes or people with acute injuries.
People may choose to select this treatment who are:
Experiencing tension in specific areas of the body - most commonly in the back and neck.
Suffering from chronic pain.
Stressed and looking for deep relaxation.
Recovering from a soft tissue injury.
Individuals should not have a deep tissue massage if they have:
Issues lying on their front
Open wounds or cuts - these areas should be avoided
High blood pressure - check with your GP before booking a deep tissue treatment
Had recent surgery
Fever, flu or cold symptoms - these can be amplified after a massage
Pregnancy. Try a pregnancy massage instead.
Deep Tissue massage potential benefits
Reduces tissue congestion
Deeper relaxation than a classic massage by removing muscle inflexibility
Reduces stress caused by tension
Chronic pain relief
It is important to note that these benefits can sometimes only be achieved after a few sessions. If the recipient is very tense, most of the first treatment will concentrate on warming up the superficial muscles. A following session will then target the posterior (deep) muscles to encourage blood flow.
During your deep tissue treatment
Your therapist will focus on areas of your body where you can feel tension and pain. This will be communicated at the beginning and during the treatment, adjusting technique according to the specific benefits you wish to achieve. Your muscles will need to be relaxed and you may be asked to breathe deeply to enable your therapist to reach the deeper musculature.
Deep Tissue massage techniques
A deep tissue treatment can be a full body massage or just work on individual problem areas. During a treatment, the therapist will shift their body weight to apply a range of pressure. The more pressure, the deeper the massage, promoting increased blood flow and relaxation. This is achieved using their fingers and thumbs, as with a classic massage, in addition to other extremities including knuckles and elbows.
After your deep tissue massage
It is not unusual to feel some pain and stiffness after your treatment, but this should go away after a day or two, leaving you feeling less tense. Massage, especially deep tissue, has the same effects on the body as exercise in terms of increasing blood flow and stretching. Having a deep tissue massage can feel just like having a workout.
What is the difference between a Swedish and Deep Tissue massage?
A deep tissue massage uses a combination of classic massage strokes that are slower and deeper to that of a Swedish massage.
Does a deep tissue massage hurt?
You may experience some discomfort during your treatment. Let your therapist know if you feel pain and you want them to reduce the pressure. It is important to communicate to your therapist about specific areas of tension and intensities of pressure. The same pressure doesn't apply to every area and each person has different tolerance levels. Talk about positioning before and during the treatment so your therapist can work around what is most comfortable.
What type of therapists specialise in deep tissue?
Sports or physiotherapists often use deep tissue massage to remove tension from muscles before working on them. Others, such as those who have come from a classic massage background, choose to train in deep tissue massage to expand their anatomy knowledge.
This page describes the most common techniques for a specific type of massage. Your therapist will tailor your treatment to your individual needs based on their expert knowledge and experience.