While many massage techniques induce relaxation with soothing and gentle kneading, deep tissue massage involves more intense muscle manipulation. Deep tissue massage therapy is similar to Swedish massage, but the deeper pressure is beneficial in releasing chronic muscle tension. Additionally, this type of massage reduces stress hormone levels and heart rate while boosting mood and relaxation by triggering the release of oxytocin and serotonin.
Unlike most traditional massage that promotes whole-body relaxation, deep tissue massage is often used to target specific trouble spots after an accident or injury has left you stiff and sore, as in instances of whiplash or falls.
Deep tissue massage is used to treat a variety of physical ailments such as:
- Chronic pain
- Injured muscles
- Limited mobility
- Postural problems
A Typical Deep Tissue Massage
Before a deep tissue massage, a trained and certified massage therapist will discuss the client’s accident, injury or complaints of generalized stiffness, gaining an understanding of how the pain or injury is impacting the client’s daily life and what he or she is hoping to gain from the massage therapy. The massage itself will be customized to the specific needs of the client, focusing on the stiff, sore and achy areas that are of the most concern.
Deep tissue massage works by breaking down muscle adhesions that can build up after an accident or a chronic illness. By applying intense, controlled pressure and friction to an afflicted area across the grain of the muscle, deep tissue massage relaxes rigid tissue and relieves the pain associated with stiff muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Deep tissue massage may cause some discomfort, and therapists encourage their clients to keep them informed about their comfort level and pain tolerance during deep tissue therapy.
Therapists may encourage their clients to apply ice to tender spots following a deep tissue massage. Some soreness the day after a deep tissue massage can be expected, though the discomfort should pass in a day.