Everything You Need to Know About Deep Tissue Massage

How will it help me?

Deep tissue massages are normally prescribed to address various ailments and chronic pains, including:

  • Lower and/or upper back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Limited flexibility
  • Injury recovery
  • Posture
  • Muscle tension
  • Repetitive strain injuries(ex. Tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome)

While not scientifically proven, experts in the field will still suggest deep tissue massages for injuries and injury prevention, especially relating to sports.

What's going to happen?

These massage techniques are used to break up scar tissue and tense "knots", healing and improving circulation, range of motion and inflammation. While similar to Swedish massage techniques, the strokes themselves are different.

The first common technique is called stripping, which involves deep gliding pressure lengthwise along the muscle fibers. The second common technique is called friction, where pressure is applied across the fibers to realign tissue fibers and release tension.

Massage therapists typically use hard surfaces of their body, such as fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during a deep tissue massage. Some stiffness may last for a day or two after a massage, but stretching and drinking water should help. Contact the massage therapist if the stiffness persists.

Does it hurt?

Sometimes, it will hurt slightly as you may experience discomfort when the massage therapist focuses on areas with adhesions or scar tissue. Pain will not always lead to a better massage, due to muscle tension, so you should always let your massage therapist know so that they can adjust their technique accordingly.

What are the risks?

If you've had recent surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or have other medical conditions, check with your doctor before starting massage therapy. Individuals with osteoporosis should avoid the deeper pressure of this type of massage. Areas with bruises, tumors, unhealed wounds, infected skin, fragile bones, etc. should not be massaged. Pregnant individuals should also be very cautious and are better off going to a pregnancy massage instead. It is always a good idea to consult with your primary physician before requesting massage therapy.

An alternative for me?

Get a deep muscle massage gun and avoid spending money. Massage the areas you know you need, whenever and whenever you want.