Deep Tissue Massage
Deep Tissue Massage: What is it and why would you want to try it?
~~By Joshua Erickson, LMT, Revolution Health Medical Center~~
According to Consumer Reports magazine, 34,000 people ranked deep tissue massage more effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain than many well know practices such as physical therapy, exercise, prescription medications, chiropractic, glucosamine and over-the-counter drugs.
Deep tissue massage also received a top ranking for fibromyalgia pain. People often notice improved range of motion immediately after a deep tissue massage.
What is Deep Tissue Massage?
A type of massage therapy, deep tissue massage uses deep, slow strokes to reach deeper layers of muscle and fascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles). It’s used for chronic aches and pain as well as on contracted areas such as a stiff neck and upper back, low back pain, leg muscle tightness, and sore shoulders.
How Does It Work?
While some of the strokes may feel the same as those used in Swedish massage therapy, deep tissue massage isn’t the same as a regular massage with deep pressure.
It’s 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.
At the beginning of the massage, lighter pressure is generally applied to warm up and prep the muscles. Specific techniques are then applied.
Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific problem, such as chronic muscle pain, injury rehabilitation, or the following conditions:
- Low back pain
- Limited mobility
- Recovery from injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls)
- Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Postural problems
- Muscle tension in the hamstrings, glutes, IT band, legs, quadriceps, rhomboids, upper back
- Osteoarthritis pain
- Sports concerns (runners, athletes)
- Piriformis syndrome
- Tennis elbow
- Upper back or neck pain
Will a Deep Tissue Massage Hurt?
At certain points during the massage, you may feel some discomfort or even some pain as the massage therapist works on areas where there are adhesions or scar tissue.
You should always tell your massage therapist if you feel pain during a deep tissue massage. The therapist can adjust the technique or further prep the tissues if the superficial muscles are tense.
Remember, pain is not necessarily good, and it is not necessarily a sign that the massage is working. In fact, your body may tense up in response to pain, making it harder for the therapist to reach deeper muscles.
What Can I Expect During My Visit?
Massage therapists may use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during the deep tissue massage.
You may be asked to breathe deeply as the massage therapist works on tense areas.
After the massage, you may feel some stiffness or soreness, but it should subside within a day or so.
Be sure to contact our office if you have concerns or if you feel pain after having a massage.
Drinking water after the massage may help to flush the metabolic waste from the tissues.
Deep tissue massage is more than just a massage with deep pressure. The goals and techniques are different. It may help with certain conditions, but remember to communicate with your massage therapist to get the most out of the massage.
Joshua is a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) at Revolution Health Medical Center. Deep Tissue Massage is one of the techniques he is trained in. He is accepting new clients.
Current patients may make an appointment with Joshua via the patient portal. Scheduling can also be done by calling our office during business hours.
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The information provided on this site is not intended to be a substitute for individual medical advice in diagnosing or treating a health problem.
Please schedule a private consult about your health concerns.