Hand & Foot
What is a deep-tissue massage?
Typically used to treat musculoskeletal issues, deep tissue massage is quite a popular option and consequently performed in most spas/medical spas. In the event that you are currently suffering from a sprain or some form of sports injury, you might seek out the help of a massage therapist who will then perform a deep tissue massage on the afflicted area. As with any massage targeting soreness or spots on the body that may be painful and stiff, it is always best to consult your physician before scheduling your deep tissue massage.
Deep tissue massage pinpoints the inner layers of muscle and connective tissue; the deeper strokes associated with this type of massage help to potentially reduce the amount of scar tissue that may have likely developed around the afflicted area. Additionally, deep tissue massage has been known to help increase overall blood flow—increased and enhanced blood circulation leads to faster healing times.
What are the benefits of deep tissue massage?
As with many massage types, deep tissue massage does come with numerous benefits—both physical and psychological. Some of the key benefits of deep tissue massage include the following:
- Treats muscle pain and alleviates soreness/stiffness
- Mentally relaxes you and reduces stress and anxiety
- Improves blood flow, can also help with lymphatic drainage
- Has shown notable benefits in people with chronic pain, such as lower back pain
- Can also alleviate issues connected to high blood pressure
- Works well for plantar fasciitis
- People with fibromyalgia benefit from this type of massage
Compared to Swedish massage
Many people will often confuse Swedish massage and deep tissue massage. While there are similarities, there are differences between the two. The strokes used in each are similar; that said, the degree of pressure utilized with deep tissue is different from the amount of pressure used with Swedish massage. Among some other key differences:
- Intended use. Deep tissue massage has a directed service, and that is to treat pain, stiffness, injury, and soreness. Whereas, while Swedish massage has been used for this occasion, it is primarily utilized to promote relaxation and stress reduction.
- Pressure Used. Swedish massage tends to be gentler regarding the amount of pressure applied and strokes used. In both forms of massage, the fingers and palms are primarily utilized; the massage therapist will apply pressure as they work. In deep tissue massage, this pressure can be more intense.
- Areas of focus. When getting a deep tissue massage, you will note that, as the name suggests, the pressure applied is of a deeper intensity—this is to reach those inner layers of muscle and connective tissue. And it is also beneficial as far as breaking down scar tissue that may be causing problems and pain. Swedish massage is focused more on the upper layers of muscle and thus encourages relaxation and a decrease in overall muscle tension.
What to expect during deep tissue massage
When getting a deep tissue massage, what you can expect will be based on your situation. Everyone experiences pain and soreness differently. Therefore massages are designed specifically for each person.
First off, the massage therapist will consult with you regarding your problem areas. They will also get a medical history. You must let the therapist know of any issues you may have or be experiencing before your deep tissue massage. Also, if you are suffering pain or from some injury, you should consult a physician before being treated by a massage therapist. In some cases, a doctor’s authorization may be required.
You will usually undress, depending on the area being worked on—a sheet will be used to cover those areas that are not being massaged. The process will begin with a lighter stroke, and in this way, the therapist will “warm-up” those muscles. After this first phase, the massage therapist will start with a deeper, kneading stroke targeting the area in question.
Risks and side effects
While deep tissue massage is entirely safe, it is essential to be aware of any relevant side effects or risks that may impact you. Consulting your doctor regarding your condition first is highly recommended. Especially if you have any of the following, speaking to your physician before your deep tissue massage is essential:
- clotting disorder
- high blood pressure
- cancer and are undergoing cancer treatment
- blood-thinning issues
- if you’re pregnant
Among the more common side effects associated with deep tissue massage are:
- soreness afterward (often a heating pad or ice pack may be recommended to help alleviate any soreness)
- some nausea
While these are relatively uncommon, it is vital to be aware that they can arise following a deep tissue massage. It is vital to stay hydrated before and after your massage. Many therapists will provide you with water immediately after your deep tissue massage to ensure you begin to hydrate appropriately.
How to find a deep tissue massage therapist?
Getting a deep tissue massage can certainly be a relaxing, soothing, and beneficial experience. It is essential to work with a therapist who has been trained and educated regarding deep tissue massage techniques. Some of how you might find a skilled deep tissue massage therapist include talking to your doctor about it, asking people you know for recommendations, and searching the American Massage Therapy Association’s database. Again, be sure they are appropriately trained and certified/licensed where applicable.
Getting Your Deep Tissue Massage
Many massage therapists do not specialize in deep tissue massage, which is why you should do your homework prior to booking any such appointment. If you tend to participate in physical activities, then odds are at some point, you will benefit from a deep tissue massage. This type of massage is created specifically for targeting the areas that are injured, sore, or in some way painful. If you are uncertain about the intensity and pressure associated with a deep tissue massage, you can start with a Swedish massage, as this tends to be lighter and gentler. If you have underlying health conditions, it is best to speak to your doctor before deep tissue massage.