What to Expect in a Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is characterized by the use of firm pressure and slow strokes to reach the deep parts of the fascia and muscles. This type of massage therapy is utilized for chronic pain and aches.

Masseuse applying pressure to shoulders

Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy which uses hard pressure as well as mellow strokes to reach the deep parts of the fascia and muscles. This type is beneficial for body aches and severe pain. Among these are tightness in the leg muscles, soreness of the shoulders and pain in the lower back.

Best for focusing on some troubled body spots, deep tissue massage may aid muscle injuries like a back sprain. It may also relieve chronic tension patterns.


Potential Health Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is concentrated on a particular problem. First is rehabilitating injuries or addressing chronic muscle pain. It is perfect for conditions such as postural problems, limited mobility, and low back pain. It can also be therapeutic for individuals who are recovering from injuries.

Repetitive strain injuries can be dealt with using deep tissue massage. An injury like carpal tunnel syndrome can easily be addressed with this kind of massage.

Deep tissue massage is also good for muscle tension. The usual body parts affected by this condition include the upper back, rhomboids, and quadriceps. It may also hamper areas like the legs, glutes, and hamstrings.

There are more conditions that can benefit from deep tissue massage. Patients suffering from neck pain, fibromyalgia and tennis elbow can experience some sort of relief after having this kind of massage. It is also a good treatment for piriformis syndrome, sciatica and osteoarthritis pain.

A survey by Consumer Reports magazine found that deep tissue massage is more effective in treating osteoarthritis than other forms of treatment according to 34,000 individuals. For them, this kind of massage works even better than over-the-counter drugs, glucosamine, and diet. It is also better than acupuncture, chiropractic, prescription drugs, exercise, and physical therapy.

In the same survey, deep tissue massage was also considered the best treatment for fibromyalgia pain. The patients’ range of motion improved right away following a massage. A sports massage is advisable to individuals who want to help with muscle recovery, address sport-related problems and prevent sports injury.


Deep Tissue Massage Session: What To Expect

Though some strokes of deep tissue massage are similar to Swedish massage strokes, it is not considered a stronger kind of the latter.

People use the techniques of deep tissue massage to break down muscle adhesions physically and work on the scar tissue. These conditions usually cause inflammation, limit the motion and disrupt circulation.

To prepare the muscles, warm up by applying lighter pressure at the start of a deep tissue massage. 2 common techniques used in deep tissue massage are:

  1. Stripping: One of the most common techniques. Marked by the use of thumbs, knuckles, forearm, and elbow to deliver deep gliding pressure to the muscle fibers.
  2. Friction: is the second common technique characterized by the use of pressure across a muscle grain to realign tissue fibers and release adhesions.

When performing a deep tissue massage, therapists can use their forearms, elbows, hands, knuckles, and fingertips. They may advise the patients to deeply breathe as they work on tense areas. A certain kind of muscle stiffness or even soreness may be felt following a massage. Typically, this will only last for a day or two. After a massage, try to remove metabolic tissue waste by drinking water.


Pain and Discomfort During Session

It is possible to feel some pain or discomfort during the massage. This is true when the therapist may be working on body parts with adhesions and scars. Pain isn’t good and may indicate a massage’s ineffectiveness. The body may tense up because of the pain. This will make it more difficult to hit the deeper muscles.

While getting a massage, ensure that you notify the therapist if the massage is painful. This way, the technique may be adjusted. Also, the therapist can prepare the tissues further in case of tense superficial muscles.


Precautions and Possible Side Effects

Though it may be beneficial to some medical conditions, deep tissue massage is not suitable for individuals with blood clots. Conditions under this category include deep vein thrombosis and thrombophlebitis. It is important to consult a doctor first if one is at risk of forming blood clots.

Check your doctor first before undergoing a deep tissue massage if you have had another medical condition, radiation, chemotherapy or surgery. The same also goes for individuals with osteoporosis. The deep pressure used in this kind of massage may be bad for their condition.

Never perform a direct massage on areas of recent fractures, fragile bones, and abdominal hernia. It can also be bad on tumors, open wounds, skin rashes, inflamed skin, and bruises. Performing a massage may result in spinal accessory neuropathy, venous thromboembolism, and hematoma.

Consulting a primary care provider is best for those with any kind of condition. Individuals with ankylosing spondylitis and other similar conditions may be unable to tolerate the pain associated with this kind of massage. Deep tissue massage should also be avoided by pregnant women.


How to Choose the Right Massage Therapist?

Always ask for a qualified therapist when looking for a deep tissue massage. You can find accredited massage therapists through the database of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Another dependable database to use is that of the American Massage Therapy Association.

There are a few factors to consider when looking for a potential massage therapist:

  • Area of focus: ask for a qualified therapist
  • Cost: Some health insurance providers cover massage therapy. This may work to your advantage if you ask how much a session cost.
  • Credentials: Check the credentials of a therapist to be sure that he or she has a license to conduct massage therapy.

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