What is Deep Tissue Massage?
A deep tissue massage is a form of massage that uses various specialized techniques and intense pressure to reduce knots and scar tissue along the muscle fibers of the back and body. Rather than the somewhat superficial nature of Swedish massage, deep tissue massage is often directed towards treating a specific condition or health concern, such as osteoarthritis pain, sciatica, tennis elbow or neck pain, among others.
The pressure applied during one of these massages can be painful for some people, but good practitioners are careful to monitor the pain tolerance and response of their patients. This massage helps break up toxins and loosen metabolic waste that has accumulated in the muscles, which can then be flushed out of the body. During a deep tissue massage, masseurs will use their hands, knuckles, elbows, fingers, and forearms to deliver this relief.
How Does it Work?
- A deep tissue massage works by clearing out many of the unwanted buildups of toxins and waste products in the body. What is commonly called “knots” are actually adhesions, bands of tense, rigid tissue under the skin, which can limit mobility, cause pain, and induce inflammation.
- It includes techniques like stripping and friction; the former consists of long, sweeping motions along various muscle fibers, while the latter is pressure administered over the grain of a muscle fiber to alleviate these adhesions.
- Beginning with lighter pressure to warm up the muscles, a deep tissue massage will gradually increase in pressure as the muscles become more pliable.
The top benefits of deep tissue massage include the reduction of anxiety, alleviation of muscle tension, and improvement of athletic recovery and performance, among others.
Chronic Back Pain
Stress and Anxiety
Carrying around extra muscle tension can cause inflammation and lead to an excess of stress hormones in the body, which can affect mood.
By improving circulation and stress levels, these massages can help to regulate blood pressure.
Recovery and Performance
Following an injury or intense workout, the body needs to recover and reduce any inflammation the exertion caused; deep tissue massage can do this very easily.
Using these massages for the relief of arthritic pain is quite common, albeit a more gentle approach is usually taken when dealing with sensitive joints.
Following a deep tissue massage, many of the metabolic waste products will be released into the body, which can lead to side effects like the following:
- Stomach upset
- Muscle aches
Drinking large amounts of water can help flush out these toxins and complete the beneficial process of these intense massages.