A great alternative therapy for treating injuries and chronic pain, discover all you need to know about deep tissue massage…
What is it?
Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on the deepest layers of muscle, tendons and fascia (the protective layer of tissue that surrounds muscles, bones and joints). Most often used to treat people recovering from accidents or sports injuries – deep tissue massage therapy uses direct pressure to release tight layers of muscle and tissue.
As its name suggests, deep tissue massage was designed to reach the deeper layers of muscle and tissue so a firm pressure is used throughout. Therapists will use their hands, fingertips, knuckles, forearms and even elbows to release areas of tension in the muscles.
A combination of petrissage (specific kneading strokes) and effleurage (smoothing and gliding strokes) – they will work slowly and carefully to reach each layer, stretching and separating the tissue to encourage better circulation of blood.
As this is a deeper style of massage, you may feel some soreness during or in the days following the session but this will just be a result of your muscles releasing stored tension and toxins. If you do feel extreme discomfort that is outside your pain threshold during your massage do let the therapist know – it may take several sessions for you to become used to the pressure.
Depending on where the tension is in your body, a deep tissue massage can be carried out on a table or chair.
Who does it suit?
Effective for treating both pain and injury – deep tissue massage can aid chronic muscular pain, rehabilitation from an injury, such as whiplash, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, burns and broken bones, and reduce pain caused by inflammation, such as arthritis but always consult your doctor or physiotherapist before booking a session.
This type of massage therapy can also be particularly beneficial for those who have physically demanding jobs or those who remain in one position for prolonged periods of time. It’s also great for those who just prefer a massage with deeper pressure!
How to get the most out of your session
- Don’t eat too heavy a meal just before your session as massage stimulates your digestion. Eat either a light snack or a meal a few hours before. If you starve yourself you may feel dizzy or light-headed during the massage.
- Drink lots of water after your massage. This will help flush out toxins, rehydrate your muscles and reduce aches and stiffness you may feel in the days after your session.
- Stretching at home can also help lessen aches and pains after a deep tissue massage.
- Remember to breathe throughout your session! It’s tempting to hold your breath when the therapist is working a particularly difficult knot or sensitive muscle but this will then restrict the flow of oxygenated blood which is crucial for healing.
- Avoid exercising straight after a massage – wait at least 12-24 hours before working out as your muscles will need time to recover. Ideally you should hit the gym or do a class before as your muscles will then be warmed up for the session and easier to work through.
- Communicate with your massage therapist! If you want them to focus on a particular area during the session let them know and the same applies if an area is tender – this is your massage after all.