Deep tissue massage involves the application of more pressure than that used in the gentler Swedish massage. The goal of deep tissue massage is to manipulate deeper layers of muscle, tendons, and facia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles) in order to relieve chronic aches and pains. It is especially beneficial to those suffering from sports related injuries. During a deep tissue massage, light pressure is applied to “warm up” the muscle fibers. The massage strokes then become deeper and more dedicated to breaking down adhesions, lengthening muscles, increasing range of motion, relieving pain and reducing inflammation.
Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is generally aimed at muscle recovery and rehabilitation. Whereas Swedish massage is more geared toward relaxation, deep tissue massage targets specific muscles or muscle groups to relieve pain and treat injury. Deep tissue massage is beneficial in breaking down scar tissue and removing adhesions. It helps increase joint and tendon mobility and range of motion while decreasing muscle tension. It can help alleviate the pain associated with arthritis and fibromyalgia and speed up the healing process following a muscular injury. Deep tissue massage is often recommended as a treatment or complementary treatment for chronic back and neck pain, sciatica, Temporomandibular joint disfunction (TMJ), tennis or golf elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.
When is Deep Tissue Massage Contraindicated?
If you are taking blood thinners such as Warfarin (Coumadin) deep tissue massage should be avoided. It should also be avoided if you suffer from undiagnosed bumps or lumps, varicose veins, fever, neuritis, certain skin diseases, hemophilia, osteoporosis, hernia, tumors, a recent surgery or acute pain, or if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol-including prescribed pain medication. Deep tissue massage should not be performed on pregnant women. There are many other important massage contraindications that you should be aware of and it is always a good idea to consult your doctor before receiving a massage.