Deep Tissue Massage
A deep tissue massage is the slow and direct application of firm pressure to deep muscle layers and connective tissue. If you need a strong and targeted treatment to address contracted areas, chronic muscle pain or slow-healing injuries – this is the massage for you. (If you have current injuries or serious long-term weaknesses, a remedial massage may be more appropriate – speak to you therapist prior to treatment.)
A deep tissue massage is designed to focus on stiffness in the neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back and legs – or any other strain you may have sustained. In the absence of any specific complaint, this treatment will address muscles and deeper lying fascia, gradually building in intensity to achieve whole-body tension reduction.
How is it different from other massage?
It’s a common misconception that a deep tissue massage is a ‘harder’ or stronger Swedish, when in fact a very different range of technique is employed. While some slower strokes may be reminiscent of a Swedish massage, deep tissue is defined by its focus on ‘breaking down’ knots, scar tissue and adhesions (long-standing ridges of tissue which become painful over time.) These muscle and tissue irregularities can cause pain, limited mobility and a reduction in circulation – combining in a systemic malaise. Working across the typically affected areas, your therapist can free up muscle fibres and achieve an alignment and tension release which may be surprising.
What happens on the day of the massage?
A deep tissue massage will begin with lighter, slower stokes to warm and prepare the muscles for manipulation. Common deep tissue techniques include a firm, gliding motion along the full length of the muscle, often with the elbow or knuckles to lengthen and reach the deeper muscle layers. Conversely, pressure is then applied across the muscle grain, often with deep thumb manipulation, to release knots and disruptions. It’s often assumed pain is a normal part of a deep tissue massage – this is not the case. If you experience pain beyond what seems reasonable, always tell your therapist. Painful areas are to be avoided – or – need more preparatory work before deeper manipulation can be continued.
What are the benefits of a deep tissue massage?
The benefits of a deep tissue massage are wide-ranging – it can improve lower back pain, neck pain, sciatica, muscle tension, strain injuries such as whiplash, repetitive strain injuries such as RSI or carpel tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis related pain and even fibromyalgia. It can increase mobility and range of movement – and improve posture over time by addressing underlying issues.
What should I do before & after a massage?
As with all massages, the more relaxed you are prior to treatment the more you will benefit. Staying well-hydrated both before and after the massage can help to remove metabolic waste and minimise any post-treatment stiffness. Some stiffness and soreness in the days following is normal, but always report any localised or persistent pain to your therapist.
If you have (or are prone to) blood clots, a deep tissue massage may not be appropriate. In this instance a ‘lighter’ treatment such as a Swedish massage may be more appropriate.