Deep Tissue Massage or myofascial release is a massage technique that focuses on releasing restrictions in the deeper layers of the muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Deep tissue massage releases chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas.
Using slow strokes and deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles not with the grain, deep tissue massage first warms the soft tissue before targeting deeper muscles groups.
Deep Tissue Massage – How Does it Work?
Deep tissue massage is both corrective and therapeutic. It uses two methods, direct or indirect and is effective in releasing deeply-held patterns of tension, removing toxins, relaxing and soothing muscles.
The direct method applies pressure to the muscle with the intention of finding resistance in the body, and maintaining the pressure until the resistance is released.
The indirect method moves in the opposite direction of the resistance.
With both techniques the amount of pressure applied is dependent on the amount of resistance.
Fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms are all used with long, slow strokes.
Because of the focus on a specific area some clients find deep tissue massage uncomfortable and it may
cause some soreness during or after.
Providing the massage is carried out correctly any soreness should disappear in a day or two.
Deep tissue massage does not require great strength, nor does it need to be painful and applying pressure for the sake of it can be ineffectual if done incorrectly.
Of the two methods, direct and indirect, there are many different combinations.
Some of the more well known include:-
o Polarity Therapy
o Thai Massage
o Triggerpoint Therapy
What are the benefits of a Deep Tissue Massage?
Unlike a regular relaxation massage, deep tissue massage works effectively on the skeletal structures that lie deep within the body.
Many people seek a deep tissue massage to help in treating crippling diseases, muscle, tendon and ligament injuries.
When muscles are stressed, they block oxygen and nutrients, leading to inflammation that builds up toxins in the muscle tissue.
Through controlled manual manipulation, deep tissue massage breaks down scar tissue and crystallization, loosens muscles, releases toxins and allows blood and oxygen to circulate properly.
It is important to drink plenty of water afterwards to flush away the toxins released during massage.
The key benefits of deep tissue massage include:
o Elimination of the blocks that cause muscle tightness
o Increases circulation of blood, lymph, cerebro-spinal and interstitial fluids
o Can resolve many chronic pain patterns by releasing deeply held emotions that cause tension
o Helps improve the functioning of the internal organs and any associated symptoms or diseases
o Improves posture and mobility
o Helps to reduce tension and the automatic reflexes to stress
How effective is Deep Tissue Massage?
Deep tissue massage can be very effective, but one has to be realistic about how much can be achieved in one session.
Simply asking for more pressure and thinking that if the therapist pushes hard enough, all tension will be released within an hour is unrealistic.
Chronic knots and tension built up over a lifetime can only be addressed with a series of treatments.
Most therapists will offer advice on a program that includes exercise, work on your posture, relaxation techniques and a regular program of massage.
Is Deep Tissue Massage Safe for Everyone?
As with most massage treatments, deep tissue massage is not recommended for certain people.
Massage should not be done directly over bruised or inflamed skin, open wounds, tumors, areas of recent fracture, abdominal hernia, rashes or skin disease.
It should also be avoided by:
o People with cardiovascular conditions and heart disease especially in cases of thrombosis, phlebitis and oedema
o Pregnant women and people with osteoporosis should consult their doctor before considering a massage
o Immediately after surgery
o Immediately after chemotherapy or radiation, unless recommended by your doctor
Deep Tissue Massage – Choosing a Therapist
When considering a deep tissue massage, ensure you choose a therapist you feel comfortable with and one that comes from a reputable organization.
Salons, spas, health and fitness clubs typically offer deep tissue massage, or you contact a mobile spa and have a deep tissue massage in the comfort of your own home.