A Beginner's Guide to Deep Tissue Massages
So what exactly is a deep tissue massage???
A deep tissue massage consists of the manipulation of the deeper layers of muscle and fascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles). The direct and deep pressure is often used to relieve chronic aches and pains. Some common ones are:
- stiff neck
- sore shoulders
- upper back
- tight muscles in arms & legs
- lower back pain
But you can virtually have a deep tissue massage just about anywhere:
The firm pressure and deep strokes helps to penetrate those deeper layers. Essentially, a "deep tissue" massage (which isn't to be confused with a regular massage with deep pressure) is used to break up scar tissue and physically break down muscle "knots" or adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) that can disrupt circulation and cause pain, limited range of motion, and inflammation.
Deep work is important but we understand that some people may be afraid to have that "painful" work done. The truth of the matter is - discomfort or "good hurt" is normal but the massage shouldn't be painful. A professional therapist works with each client based on their comfort level. Additionally, LMT's are great at speaking to the body individually; working within a client's breaths.
Again, every person is different when it comes to pain tolerance and deep tissue work may not be for everyone. Depending on 1) how beat up your body is 2) your pain thresh hold and 3) your health history, that will determine how many treatments you need in order to see effective results.
After your deep tissue massage, you may feel some stiffness or soreness, but it should subside within a day or so. After any therapeutic massage, but especially a deep tissue, we recommend:
- drinking water after the session (to flush the metabolic waste from the tissues)
- ice the areas are soar
- take a relaxing hot bath with epsom salt
- do the stretches or exercises that your LMT recommended
The most important thing is to always listen to your body! When it's time for a massage, your body will bluntly tell you and always how you treat yourself, post massage is as equally important as the massage itself.