Receiving a Deep Tissue massage can be a highly pleasurable experience as well as an effective method for reducing pain and improving quality of life for people of any age or circumstance.
Unfortunately, many people have had a bad experience with deep tissue massage, wincing because an unaware therapist was using too much pressure.
Safety and client consideration are top priority with deep tissue massage. Deep tissue massage should never induce pain, rather, a healing, “hurt so good” sensation or a “therapeutic discomfort”.
It is important for therapists to check-in with clients a few times throughout a session because preferences may change. I encourage everyone receiving massage to be outspoken about their preferences, its our time to be taken care of the way we want!
Deep tissue massage is different from a general spa massage.
Deep Tissue massage has the aim to identify root cause(s) of a client's specific imbalance and apply various techniques on deep layers of the body to alleviate pain. Deep Tissue addresses health beyond just a feeling of relaxation felt during a session.
Deep tissue massage can be applied on bones, muscles or most importantly fascia.
Fascia is a special type of tissue that connects and encases almost the entire body in sections. Each muscle cell, bundles of muscle cells, tendons, ligaments, organs and skin are all connected by fascia.
'Knots' or sensitive strands of tight muscles are hyper stagnant areas. Nerve signals to and from these area are faint where circulation is cramped, further restring cellular waste to get out and fresh blood to get in, bringing relief. “Knots” often form where multiple muscles intersect, like the shoulder blade for example that has 17 different muscles that attach to it.
When fascia gets dehydrated, due to stress, lack of fluid or movement, it gets thick and sticky. It binds to itself and neighboring areas of muscles causing restricted movement. Physical discomfort may be a request from the body to notice inflexibility or imbalance somewhere.
Deep tissue massage re hydrates fascia by stimulating waste nutrients out of the cells for excretion and brings fresh blood into an area to heal. The manipulation of the body with massage, melts sticky fascia, bringing relief to an entire area and stimulates a chain reaction of healing.
Focusing on a few target areas per visit, allows time to more effectively address an issue by working on the adjoining and opposing muscles that contribute to an imbalance.
With a slow and gradual application of pressure, clients feel safer to relax, let go of their tension and bring a new depth of body awareness. A therapist should never 'muscle' their way into a muscle. With patience and slow deep tissue massage, muscles soften at their own pace and 'invite' the increased pressure.
Fascia is linked to the nervous system. Touch in one area can ease movement in another. Fascia encases all our muscles, skin and contains deeply proprioceptors, deeply embedded sensors that relay critical information about our bodies movement, positioning and our perception in space.
A deep tissue massage in not solely a passive experience. When a client is more actively participating in letting go of their tension, their shifts are more impact full. Similar to a Physical Therapist or a personal trainer, a deep tissue practitioner will help client's identify habitual posture or behaviors that contribute to their complaints. By sharing information and support, clients are encouraged to practice making regular lifestyle choices for their wellness and preventative care. A few specific Deep Tissue modalities to experience or research further are: Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release and Structural Integration.
Please leave a comment about this article or your experience with Deep Tissue Massage