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 chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff neck, low back tightness and sore shoulders. Some of the strokes are used as classic massage therapy, but movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain.
How does deep tissue massage work?
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. Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To do this a massage therapist uses direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles.
Will deep tissue massage hurt?
At certain points during the massage, most people find there is usually some discomfort and pain. It is important to tell your therapist when things hurt and if any soreness or pain you experience is outside your comfort range. There may be some stiffness or pain after a deep tissue massage, but it should subside within a day or so.
What conditions is deep tissue massage used for?
Unlike classic massage therapy, which is used for relaxation, 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 or spasm
Deep tissue massage also received a top ranking for fibromyalgia pain. People often notice improved range of motion immediately after a massage.
Massage is not recommended for people with infectious skin disease, rash or open wounds or for people who are prone to blood clots. Pregnant women should consult their doctor first if they are considering getting a massage.