What Exactly is Deep Tissue Massage?


The massage therapists at Reflexion Spa are highly trained professionals concerned with bringing you relaxation, stress relief, and great health benefits through a wide variety of massage techniques. One of these techniques, and possibly the most popular, is called deep tissue massage. This style of massage is most often used to target chronic pain areas and relieve pain by breaking down scar tissue or muscle “knots” that can inhibit circulation or cause serious discomfort.

What to Expect During Your Deep Tissue Massage

A deep tissue massage may begin with light, slow strokes. These are used to warm up the muscles and increase the circulation around trouble areas. Because this massage is intended as a treatment for chronic pain and stiffness, your massage therapist will target your trouble areas. Particular techniques are used to apply heavier pressure to knots, joints, or scar tissue that may inhibit proper circulation and cause serious discomfort. The two most common of these techniques include stripping and friction.

Stripping includes a deep pressure sliding along the entire length of muscles in the direction of the muscle fibers. Friction is the opposite and includes pressure applied against the grain of the muscle fibers. This can help to break down swollen tissue and realign fibers, allowing muscles to heal more properly. Your massage therapist may use her knuckles, palms, elbows, or thumbs to administer these massage techniques.

It is normal to feel slight discomfort during your deep tissue massage, especially when pressure is applied to your most troubling area. However, a massage should not be painful and you should inform your massage therapist if you experience any pain so that he or she can adjust her technique accordingly.

How Deep Tissue Massages Differ From the Rest

Typically the word “massage” is related to an idea of relaxation or unwinding. While deep tissue massages may also allow you to reap these benefits, a deep tissue massage focuses less on relaxation and more on rehabilitation. A deep tissue massage differs from other, more gentle styles of massage in that it requires intense, aggressive motions. During a deep tissue massage, you may feel more discomfort than relaxation because the nature of the therapy requires pressure on already uncomfortable areas. You will be asked to breathe deeply to help you manage the slight discomforts you may experience. After your massage, you may experience less pain or cramping and significantly increased mobility.

The Endless Reasons to Consider a Deep Tissue Massage

While the term “massage” may be misleading, it is more accurate to think of this form of massage as a “treatment.” In fact, deep tissue massage can be used to lessen the discomfort caused by an array of physical illnesses, such as sciatica, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, or carpal tunnel. Deep tissue massage may also be an effective treatment for sports injuries, back pain, neck pain, leg pain, or other ailments that may limit your mobility.

What to Expect After a Deep Tissue Massage

Generally, you will notice the advantages of your massage almost immediately. You will notice that you have a greater range of motion in joints and muscle that were once stiff and sore. Although you will experience many benefits, it is not uncommon to experience some slight discomfort or light bruising. You may also notice some slight swelling in your muscles. You should be sure to drink plenty of water in order to rehydrate your muscles and help to flush out any waste materials released from your muscle tissue during your massage. In the case of swelling lasting more than a few hours, you may find that applying ice relieves the discomfort.

While some of these effects can be irksome, they are generally very temporary. The various benefits of your deep tissue massage will unquestionably outweigh any of these small drawbacks. If you suffer from chronic pain or muscle stiffness, scheduling a deep tissue massage appointment is your first step to easing your discomfort and significantly improving your quality of life.