5 Best Benefits Of Deep Tissue Massage

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Getting a deep tissue massage can be a wonderful way to relieve stress, but there are also a number of other benefits you should understand.

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. [1]

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.

Man getting a deep tissue massage in a spa setting

A deep tissue massage involves applying firm pressure to reach deeper layers of muscle. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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

As with most massages, a deep tissue variety is able to remedy chronic back pain by loosening muscles and ensuring proper circulation in those areas of the back. [2]

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. [3]

Blood Pressure

By improving circulation and stress levels, these massages can help to regulate blood pressure. [4]

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. [5]


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. [6]

Side Effects

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:

  • Fatigue
  • Stomach upset
  • Muscle aches

Drinking large amounts of water can help flush out these toxins and complete the beneficial process of these intense massages.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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