Deep tissue massage:
Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that involves applying firm pressure and slow strokes to reach the deeper layers of muscle and fascia. When used correctly, it can help ease contracted areas such as a stiff neck and upper back, lower back pain, leg muscle tightness, and sore shoulders.
Deep tissue massage benefits:
Deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific problem such as chronic muscle pain, injury rehabilitation, and the following conditions:
- Low back pain
- Upper back or neck pain
- Limited mobility
- Recovery from injuries
- Repetitive strain injury
- Postural problems
- Osteoarthritis pain
- Tennis elbow
What to expect from a deep tissue massage:
Deep tissue massage techniques are used to break down scar tissue and muscle tension in the form of knots that can disrupt circulation and cause pain and inflammation.
At the beginning of a deep tissue massage, light pressure is applied to warm up and prepare the muscles before other techniques are applied. Massage therapists will then use their fingertips, hands, elbows, and forearms to apply techniques which include:
Stripping, this is where deep pressure is applied via gliding motions along the length of the muscle fibres.
Friction, this is where pressure is applied across the grain of a muscle to release knots and release tissue fibres.
At certain times during the massage, you may feel some discomfort or even some pain as the massage therapist works on areas where there are adhesions or scar tissue.
You should always tell your massage therapist if you feel pain during the massage. The therapist can adjust the technique or further prep the tissues if the superficial muscles are tense.
After the massage, it is natural to feel some stiffness or soreness but will subside within a day or two. Drinking water after the massage can help to flush the metabolic waste from the tissues.
How does it compare to Swedish massage?
Deep tissue massage and Swedish massage are two different types of massage therapy. Both use similar strokes on the skin and muscles, but they have different uses and techniques, especially when it comes to the amount of pressure used.
Here are some of the differences between deep tissue massage and Swedish massage:
- Deep tissue massage is primarily used to treat chronic pain and muscle tightness and knots.
- Swedish massage is mainly used to promote relaxation all over the body.
- Swedish massage is a much gentler form of massage which uses far less tension than deep tissue massage. Both types will have the massage therapist use their palms and fingers to knead and manipulate the tissues. Elbows and forearms may also be used to apply increased pressure during a deep tissue massage.
- Deep tissue massage targets the deeper inner layers of your muscles. It’s used to treat muscle and tendon injuries, pain, and stiffness in your major muscle groups. Swedish massage targets the outer layers of muscle and focuses on the parts of your body that tend to hold the most tension, such as your neck, shoulders, and back.