DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE
What is deep tissue massage?
Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue.
It is especially useful for releasing chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, low back tightness, and sore shoulders.
Some of the same strokes are used as classic massage therapy, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain.
How does deep tissue massage work?
When there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation.
Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To do this, the massage therapist often uses direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles.
Massage therapists may use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during the deep tissue massage.
You may be asked to breathe deeply as the massage therapist works on certain tense areas. It is important to tell the massage therapist if any soreness or pain you experience during the massage is outside your comfort range. It is important to drink plenty of water after the massage to flush metabolic waste from the tissues.
Any stiffness or pain after a deep tissue massage should subside within a day or so. It may be helpful to apply ice to the area after the massage.
What conditions is deep tissue massage used for?
Unlike classic massage therapy, which is used for relaxation, deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific problem, such as:
Recovery from injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls, sports injury)
Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
Muscle tension or spasm
According to the August 2005 issue of Consumer Reports magazine, 34,000 people ranked deep tissue massage more effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescription medications, chiropractic, acupuncture, diet, glucosamine and over-the-counter drugs.
Deep tissue massage also received a top ranking for fibromyalgia pain.
People often notice improved range of motion immediately after a deep tissue massage.
Massage is not recommended for certain people:
infectious skin disease, rash, or open wounds
immediately after surgery
immediately after chemotherapy or radiation, unless recommended by your doctor
people with osteoporosis should consult their doctor before getting a massage
prone to blood clots. There is a risk of blood clots being dislodged. If you have heart disease, check with your doctor before having a massage
pregnant women should check with their doctor first if they are considering getting a massage. Massage in pregnant women should be done by massage therapists who are certified in pregnancy massage.
massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, or areas of recent fractures.