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Deep Tissue Massage: What Is It, Benefits, And Everything You Should Know

When it comes to the most popular massage types in the world, deep tissue massage is one that ranks among the top. In this article, you’ll learn what a deep tissue massage is, and how the techniques used by massage therapists can benefit you. 

What Is A Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage is a massage technique that’s commonly used to treat musculoskeletal problems, this could include both strains and injuries. It involves applying sustained pressure using slow, deep strokes to target the inner layers of your muscles and connective tissues. This can help break up scar tissue that forms from injuries and reduce tension in muscles and tissues.

It may also promote faster healing by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation.

What Does A Deep Tissue Massage Feel Like?

For any of you who are experiencing pain, soreness, or tight muscles, a deep tissue massage can feel great as it can provide relief from what you’re feeling.

It’s important to know that it isn’t unusual to feel a degree of discomfort during the massage itself. The whole point of this treatment is to break up muscle tension, adhesions, and scar tissue that often lie in deeper musculature, so your therapist will likely apply a lot of pressure. However, you should let them know if this becomes too uncomfortable. Expect to be asked to breathe deeply when the person treating you is working on especially tense or deep areas of your muscles.

Deep Tissue Massage Benefits And Studies

Deep tissue massage offers both physical and psychological benefits. Unlike other massage techniques focusing on relaxation, deep tissue massage helps treat muscle pain and improve stiffness. But it can still help you unwind mentally, too.

2014 study involving 59 participants found that deep tissue massage helped to reduce discomfort in people with chronic lower back pain. The authors likened its effects to those of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil).

People have also reported that deep tissue massage helps with:

A deep tissue massage may improve circulation, reduce minor aches and pain, increase range of motion, and ease inflammation. One study by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that deep tissue massage helped to lower blood pressure after just one massage session.

One of the most common deep tissue massage therapy benefits is pain reduction. According to a 2014 study in PLOS One, individuals with this condition sometimes experience “beneficial immediate effects” regarding their levels of pain, oftentimes within just five weeks of massage therapy.

This specific massage can also help with injuries, including damage to muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Scar tissue forms when an area of the body is injured and then heals. While you can have scars on the outside, you can also have them deep inside your body. Deep tissue massage can target this type of scarring and make it easier to move, promoting a greater range of motion.

Just a few years ago, there was a study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. This study looked at 27 men who had been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, or AS.

The Spondylitis Association of America explains that AS is a condition characterized by inflammation in the spine, which can eventually lead to a new bone formation in which certain sections of the spine “fuse in a fixed, immobile position.”

For those group members who underwent deep tissue massage, they ended up showing a significantly greater reduction in the severity of their AS when compared to those receiving traditional massage. They also showed a greater reduction in pain.

Studies have also shown that deep tissue massage can be effective for old injuries and rehabilitation. If you’re experincing soreness, aches, and pains, you may want to speak with a massage therapist about working deep tissue massage into your next visit. You can book a deep tissue massage here.

What Happens During Deep Tissue Massage Treatment?

As with most massage therapy sessions, the massage therapist will want to know more about your problem areas and the problems you’re experiencing. Make sure you are open and honest with them. Let them know everything that you feel and what type of result you’re looking to obtain. This will ensure the best possible outcome for you.

Once you’re ready to get your massage, you’ll be asked to lie on your back or stomach under a sheet. Your level of undress is based on your comfort, but the area being worked on must be exposed for the best possible results.

The massage therapist will warm up your muscles using a lighter touch to start. Your deep tissue sessions will be gentle to begin with. It can cover a broad area in the beginning, and then focus on the specific muscles or regions that need work. Everyone has different pain tolerance levels, so it’s possible that deep tissue massage may cause discomfort or even be a little painful. Make sure you talk to your massage therapist about the pressure being applied. If your massage gets painful, let your therapist know.

If the massage techniques are too gentle, it’s possible that the work being done will not be effective at breaking up muscle knots. On the other hand, too much pressure or extreme discomfort takes away from the benefits the massage provides. Again, this is why you want to be open and vocal with your therapist and let them know exactly how you’re feeling.

Feeling some pain or soreness a few days after your deep tissue massage is normal. Don’t be alarmed by that. Deep muscle stripping and myofascial release (MFR) may create some bruising or leave you feeling sore, but joint stretches performed during a deep tissue session should not cause pain in the days afterward.

Swedish Massage vs Deep Tissue Massage

Two of the most popular massage types are Swedish massage and deep tissue massage, which are often compared to one another. While many professionals say there’s overlap between Swedish and deep tissue massage techniques, the biggest difference is the depth of pressure being used. Here’s a quick overview to help you choose what type of massage is right for you. You can also chat with your massage therapist to help you decide.

Swedish massage

  • Appropriate for someone experiencing stress and anxiety
  • Great for someone wanting to relax and unwind
  • Good for someone brand new to professional massage
  • Good choice for someone who has a low tolerance

Deep tissue massage

  • Appropriate for someone experiencing pain
  • Good for those who experience prolonged muscle stiffness
  • Anyone seeking pain relief
  • Good for someone trying to recover from a past injury

Does Soothe offer deep tissue massage?

Absolutely! Deep tissue massage therapy is one of our most popular offerings. You can easily book a deep tissue massage with Soothe. Book a Soothe massage now to try it out!