Discover what deep tissue massage is, its benefits, side effects, what the process is like, and how is it compared to the Swedish massage.
Massage therapy has been proven to have many health and wellness benefits. It helps to relax the mind and body, aid with stress, improve blood circulation, and relieve symptoms of pain.
Most people who live in the city often suffer from stiff bodies in various areas like the neck, shoulders, and back. Due to long hours of office work and sitting in front of computers, they suffer from various body aches and end up with tensed muscles.
Often, people look to massage as a way to relieve these symptoms. And when searching for a sports massage in Brisbane or other cities, they might stumble upon deep tissue massage.
However, not many are aware of what this type of massage really is, and what it does to the body.
Read on to find out if you really need a deep tissue massage if you’re looking to try it out during your next visit to the massage therapist.
What Exactly Is A Deep Tissue Massage?
Deep tissue massage refers to a specific type of massage that focuses on musculoskeletal issues including sports injuries and muscle strains.
It is a massage technique that uses consistent pressure with deep and slow strokes on targeted areas like inner layers of muscles and connective tissues.
The massage technique is able to break up scar tissue that occurs as a result of injuries, and also helps to lessen tension in tissue and muscles.
When this happens, it allows the body to recover and heal faster as it increases blood circulation and lessens inflammation.
Benefits Of The Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage may sound really scary but in fact, it has many health and psychological benefits.
Other massage techniques focus on specific areas and body relaxation, but this massage aims to treat muscle pain and stiffness.
Additionally, it can also help with mental relaxation and reduce stress.
Deep tissue massage helps with a vast variety of conditions that involve pain including:
- Chronic pain in the lower back;
- Tennis elbow;
- Sports injuries;
- Plantar fasciitis;
Deep tissue massage can even help with high blood pressure, and overall muscle and tissue problems.
Is It Like A Swedish Massage?
Some people may be confused between deep tissue massage and Swedish massage. Although the two are similar in terms of the kind of strokes used, in reality, they are different massage therapies and have different functions and uses.
- For deep tissue massage, it mainly targets conditions of chronic pain including muscle and sports-sustained injuries.
- Swedish massage, on the other hand, primarily aims to induce relaxation and target muscle tensions from everyday activities, like sitting in front of a computer for prolonged periods of time.
Both types of massages use the palms and fingers to knead and apply pressure onto tissues. But deep tissue massages go a step further to increase the amount of pressure by using elbows and forearms to apply strength.
Swedish massage, therefore, uses lesser tension and pressure than deep tissue massage.
With these in mind, there is a clear difference in the area of focus between the two types of massage therapy:
- Swedish massage focuses on the more superficial layers of muscle on areas like our neck, back, and shoulders where there is the most tension.
- Deep tissue massage looks at the deeper and inner layer of muscles where muscle and tendon injuries occur.
It is good to be aware of the differences between the two, and see if the benefits of a deep tissue massage are what you are looking for before going for one.
What The Process Is Like
If you have decided that deep tissue massage is what you need, you may be interested in knowing how the entire process will go.
Since this type of massage targets problematic areas like sports-related injuries and muscle strains, your therapist will need to know your medical history and how you sustained these injuries beforehand.
He or she will find out more about your problem areas and decide if the massage needs to target a specific area only, or should involve the whole body.
Your therapist will then have a consultation with you to go through and discuss what needs to be done and find out more about what you are comfortable with.
Once the details are sorted out, you will be asked to lie on the massage bed either on your back or stomach.
Massage clinics may sometimes offer you a gown to change into for the procedure, while others may simply request you to undress according to your level of comfort.
Remember to make sure that the focus area needs to be exposed so that your therapist can knead into them.
Once you are comfortable and ready, the procedure will begin with some light warm-up of your muscles with mild pressure applied.
After this, your therapist will begin working on the areas of concern with the levels of pressure needed, kneading, and stroking into the areas with varying strength.
Is It Safe For Everyone?
Your therapist may also brief you on some possible side effects.
One common side effect of a deep tissue massage is lingering soreness for a few days after the massage. This is normal and not something that you should be alarmed about.
You can relieve the sore and ache by applying heat on the areas with a heating pad, or even some coldness with a cold pack.
Although deep tissue massage is overall safe, it ultimately involves the use of higher amounts of pressure and may not be safe for everyone.
Some conditions that may cause more detrimental side effects of deep tissue massage include blood clotting disorders, bleeding disorders, cancer; or if you are undergoing cancer treatment, or consuming blood thinners.
If you suffer from osteoporosis or bone cancer, you should definitely avoid the massage as the amount of pressure applied may cause fractures.
Pregnant ladies should also avoid deep tissue massages and go for milder options.
Individuals who are suffering from skin infections or any form of open wound should also avoid deep tissue massages until they have fully recovered. This is to prevent a new infection or the worsening of an existing one.
Deep tissue massage isn’t for everyone. You should be clear on the uses of this massage and whether you really need one before engaging a therapist for it.
Other milder options like Swedish massage or general body massages may be better alternatives. So make sure to do your comparison before your massage therapy sessions!