Deep tissue massage therapy is a general term that describes the many types of massage that are applied to the deeper structures of the body and is massage that uses deeper pressure. This type of massage usually results in people really feeling a difference in their body after a massage. Some spa’s will say that they are offering deep tissue massage, when in fact it is just a deeper pressure massage.
How is Deep tissue massage therapy Done?
There are two ways that deep tissue massage is done. Some say that deep tissue is and should be painful while others say it should not be painful. There is no research to prove which version of deep tissue massage is more effective. It is more a personal preference. The thing is though, that you may find a massage therapist who does think that it is OK that is should hurt a bit, you really need to decide if that is right for you. Often people receiving massage will think that the massage therapist knows best and that they should just take the deeper pressure. That is not the way to get the most out of your massage. You need to speak up and make sure you are getting the massage that you need.
There is also how you personally define what hurts, what is sore, what is painful. Working with many massage clients has shown me that each person really has their own definition. It is a matter of working together to create a massage session that is beneficial to the recipient.
The one thing that can be agreed on is that deep tissue massage is not just using deeper pressure or one’s strength to work on the body. Using strength or force just causes the body to resist or contract instead of relax.
Deep Tissue Massage is also sometimes categorized with neuromuscular therapy which I see as a totally different type of massage.
Deep tissue massage is known to work the deeper aspects of the body – the deeper muscles such as the psoas in the abdomen and deep hip rotators that are often related to issues of sciatica and low back pain. The amount of pain that one feels during a deep tissue massage varies for each individual. People who say they have a high tolerance for pain are often numb and unable to feel their bodies. This is often a result of having chronically tight muscles. The amount of pain that is felt is also a reflection of just how tight a muscle is and with a series of massage sessions, the pain will be reduced each time until the client is pain free and able to engage in a more balanced life that doesn’t result in tight muscles or pain.
An effective deep tissue massage therapist will always be asking how the pressure is and asking for feedback on the pressure to work with the client in achieving their goals. It is important that as a client (the person getting the massage) that you do provide truthful feedback and not be afraid to ‘hurt’ the massage therapists feelings. Most massage therapists can feel tight muscles and triggerpoints but they can not know how it feels to YOU!.
Deep tissue massage is usually effective in working with chronic pain caused by muscle adhesions, scar tissue, prevention and treatment of sports injuries and other injuries. Structural Integration which is a series of sessions that is done on the body to help unwind and create a more supportive posture may also be in the category of deep tissue massage.
It is done with elbows, knuckles, fists and also deep finger/thumb pressure depending on the area of the body that it is applied to.