An Ultimate Guide To Deep Tissue Massage

Get rid of tight muscles, aches, and pain with the power of deep tissue massage techniques. The deep tissue has some benefits to provide you if you are recovering from an injury or you are a sportsperson with an increased demand placed on your body.

The massages have been used from thousands of years around the globe to decrease the psychological and physical stress. And nowadays, the research is consistently being done whether used alone or in combination with the other treatment, the tissue therapy is a productive way to assist in treating the common issues such as chronic lower back pain, shoulder tension, stress, anxiety, and arthritis.

The basic objective of deep muscle massage is reducing the discomfort and pain while improving the ability of the body to repair itself. The deep tissue are relaxing and they assist in lengthening and releasing the muscles that usually get stuck and feel tense in tight holding patterns.

What is Deep Tissue Massage?

It is a technique of which is principally used for treating the musculoskeletal problems, for instance, sports injuries and strains. It includes involving targeted pressure using the deep and slow strokes for targeting the inner layers of connective tissues and muscles.

DTM it assists in breaking up the scar tissues that result in an injury and decrease the tension in the tissue and muscle. It can maintain fast healing through increased flow of blood and reduced inflammation.

The deep tissue includes the manipulation of the deep tissue layers of the body involving the supportive tissues that make up the joints and muscles and the fascia.

In comparison with the other popular massage techniques such as therapeutic massage or Swedish, which are light in pressure and include moving the body into a specific place, the DTM is somehow firm and slow.

The person getting the deep tissue lies on the back or stomach in one state while a specific pressure is given to the specific body parts by a professional massage therapist.

The massage is helpful as it assists in relieving the muscle tension and stimulating the flow of blood and at the same time it releases oxytocin and serotonin, the happy hormones and lowers the psychological stress.

Most of the deep muscle massages particularly focus on the major group of muscles, for instance, lower back or neck in addition to the tendons and joints that are vulnerable to injuries or strains. Some specific body parts that tense up when you are in stress such as hips, neck, and shoulders, can get benefit the most from this kind of deep manipulation.

Numerous individuals regard the DTM to be a type of sports massages that include physical therapy principally to the neuromusculoskeletal systems for preventing injuries, improving joint mobilization and muscle recovery and treating the disability and pain.

Several manipulative approaches to treat the pain and other health issues naturally have been used for more than 3,000 years, dating back to Chinese and Ancient Egyptian civilizations. The pressure therapy were utilized for promoting better liver function, detoxing the body, and improving energy or life force, which now can be regarded through the process of lymphatic system activation.

The professional considers that the first to use deep and firm pressure for treating the chronic pain were the ancient Egyptians. During the middles of the 19th century, the deep tissue initiated to get attention in the West started in Canada and made its way around the United Kingdom.

What is Deep Tissue Massage Techniques?

Are you aware of the types and techniques involved in deep tissue massage? Let us see different aspects in detail.

If you ever had a bodywork experience done with a Swedish fashion, including the long strokes moved along the muscle lines, the deep tissue is something different. The deep tissue technique is basically the cross-grains, working against the muscles for relieving pains or aches in spite of moving with them. In comparison with the standard relaxation therapy, it can be something more painful.

Hence, the pressure included in the deep tissue is a great thing if you have an idea. It gives you multiple benefits that this massage is offering.

The DTM is longer and slow-paced as compared to the other massages, almost 1.5 hours long, which provides bodily tissues sufficient time for warm-up and relaxing. The therapist who is professional in several techniques of deep tissue often provides the client with multiple services:

  1. They give you different tips for improving posture, which assists in lowering the pain and chronic tension.

  2. They are expert in the treatment of some specific areas that were injured previously or are extra tense.

  3. They have additional information related to stress and anxiety present in the body and improved relaxation.

  4. They have the basic knowledge of helpful stretches or exercises that you can do at home during the session of massage.

What are the benefits of deep tissue massage?

There are multiple psychological and physical benefits of deep tissue therapy. When compared to other techniques of massage which focus on leisure, the deep tissue therapy assists in improving stiffness and treating the muscle pain. It also aid you unwinding on a mental level.

A study conducted in 2014 including 59 individuals showed that the deep tissue massage assisted in decreasing the pain in individuals having chronic low back pain. There were multiple effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs associated with it for instance Advil (Ibuprofen)

People have reported that deep tissue massage assists with fibromyalgia, sports injuries, high blood pressure, plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, and sciatica.

Treats The Chronic Back Pain
The research compared the effectiveness of deep tissue massage and therapeutic massage, two different massages for the treatment of chronic back pain. It found that around the period of ten days, the DTM lead to an increased improvement in the pain in comparison with the therapeutic treatment.

Assists in Lowering High Blood Pressure
In the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, research published that found out the DTM had good effects on mean, diastolic, and systolic arterial blood pressure readings in the people with symptoms of high blood pressure and pain.

Decreases Muscle Tension, Anxiety, and Stress
The muscle tension and chronic stress cause the inflammation and it results in worsening the general health, longing the recovery time, reducing the cardiovascular and immune function problems, for instance, increased blood pressure.

Several Studies Have Indicated
Massage therapy can assist in lowering the levels of cortisol and boost the oxytocin production which produces soothing effects and relaxes the body. Oxytocin is the first hormone for increasing the motivation for cooperative behaviors and sustaining the social bonds in human beings. It is renowned as the cuddle hormone and it is released during social bonding, birth, from touch, and during hugs.

Breaks Up Scar Tissue
The deep tissue is used after the injuries that assist in breaking up the newly creating scar tissues that are demanding to recover and the result is stiffness. Therapeutic treatments can decrease muscle spasms and inflammation through loosening up of muscles and stimulation of blood flow to permit more oxygen and also assist in reducing the automatic stress response of the nervous system.

Improves Athletic Performance and Recovery
The deep tissue is involved in improving athletic performance and recovery. One of the most productive kinds of tissue massage for athletes is sports massage which is best for the athletes to prevent injuries and warm the body.

Can Help With Delivery and Labor Pain
Most of the pregnant ladies prefer complementary or alternative medications for assisting the control labor pain and sustaining a natural process of birthing such as Bradley method.

A Study Shows
That most recommended alternative therapies during pregnancy are chiropractic therapies, acupuncture, and massage therapy. As there is a decrease in the cortisol levels during the treatment and improved blood flow, the expecting ladies are greatly protected by the probability of premature delivery and excessive fetal activity.

Reduces Symptoms of Arthritis
Massage is commonly used for alleviating the symptoms of a different kind of arthritis, which include trouble sleeping, reduced range of movement in joints, anxiety, stiffness, and chronic joint pain. The firm massages are utilized for natural relaxation on a daily basis, which is performed by the patient or by a professional.Deep Tissue Massage Techniques

Massage Therapist Healing Hands
What is the difference between a deep tissue massage and a regular massage?

Here are some of the different types of massage therapy:

SPORTS  THERAPY
It is a kind of treatment that is applicable to the athletes who expose their body to extreme physical stress to compete in sports. They may have minor injuries, stress-related wounds, or muscle soreness from the buildup of lactic acid. This style of massage is applied vigorously which aids in making quick healing and great response.

SWEDISH
Swedish massage it helps to alleviate the relief caused by stress as compared to the natural treatment for the painful situations, so it is done with less intensity rather than sports therapy, but for an elongated period per session. The principal techniques in Swedish are tapotement, petrissage, friction, and effleurage.

DEEP TISSUE
DTM is more intense as compared to a sports massage. When you apply the techniques in deep tissue, you try focusing the pressure on a particular body part and fixing the issues are considered in that part. The manual massage is an intense style of massage for both therapist and customer. It is beneficial in the treatment in the problems of deep tissue than other types of therapy may not reach, or need a lot of time before you see the results.

REMEDIAL MASSAGE
The remedial technique is considered as a therapy. It is similar to the sports therapy and it is not intense identical to the deep tissue massage. The idea behind this treatment is to plan at the healing of an already present injury.

THAI MASSAGE
If you feel relaxed, happy, or good while having treatment of a Thai therapy; it is a great sign that the therapist is professional and expert. While undergoing treatment, you are not believed to feel comfortable, numerous individuals are amazed at the deep physicality of the techniques, and it includes a mild amount of excess pressure but the best is to explore good feelings after completing the session.

The practitioners of Thai therapy can apply methods of deep tissue massage for specific medical and muscle problems. Anyone can be trained as the Thai massage therapist but it is important to learn Thai technique well enough to be a beneficial therapy to set apart.

Deep Tissue Muscle Relaxation

What is deep tissue massage VS Swedish massage?

Before going for deep tissue therapy, you should compare it with other types of massages to get an idea of what it is. The Swedish massage and deep tissue massage are different kinds of therapies. Both involve the same strokes but differ in the amount of pressure and have different uses. Here are some of the major differences between Swedish and deep tissue massage:

Pressure

Swedish massage is a gentle treatment that involves the least tension as compared to the deep tissue. Both kinds of massage involve the use of fingers and palms for manipulating and kneading the tissues, but the forearms and elbows are also used for applying more pressure during DTM.

Intended Use

The DTM is used for the treatment of sport-related injuries and chronic pain as well as muscles. When talking about the Swedish massage, it is used for reducing the muscle tension resulted by everyday activities, for instance sitting anywhere and promoting relaxation.

Areas of Focus

The Swedish massage focused on the outer layers of muscles and targets the body parts that hold most of the tension like back, shoulders, and neck. The DTM focuses on the muscle’s inner layers. It is used for treating the injuries of tendon and muscles, stiffness and pain in the chief joints and muscle groups.

What happens when you get a deep tissue massage?

The massage therapist will require knowing about your problem areas before starting your DTM. The deep tissue massage can include just one area or your whole body.

When all the things are ready, the therapist will ask you to lie on your stomach or back. The level of undressing depends on your comfort level, but the area that requires working need to be uncovered.
Using a lighter contact, the massage expert will warm your muscles. After you are warmed, he will initiate working on your areas of trouble. He will use stroking and kneading with different amount of deep pressure.

What happens after deep tissue massage?

Although some of the strokes may appear the same as those utilized in Swedish therapy, the DTM is not a strong version of a Swedish massage.  The DTM techniques are utilized for breaking up the scar tissue and breaking down adhesions or muscle knots that can disturb circulation and result in inflammation, limited range of motion and pain.

At the start of DTM therapy, light pressure is applied for warming up and preparing the muscles.

Some particular techniques are then used. Some common techniques are:

Friction: The pressure is applied across the muscle grains for discharging the adhesions and realigning the tissue fibers.

Stripping: The gliding and deep pressure across the length of muscle fibers utilizing thumbs, knuckles, forearm, and elbow.

The therapist may utilize forearms, elbows, hands, knuckles, and fingertips during the deep tissue massage. You can be inquired to breathe deeply as the massage therapist work on the specific areas.

How To You Get You Back Your Best Self

What to do after Deep Tissue Massage?

After the treatment, you can feel some soreness or stiffness, but it can subside with a day or so. Many clients report that their muscular tension, aches, and pains are alleviated significantly after a relaxing bath with Epsom Salt. Always make sure to talk to your therapist if you have concerns or feel pain after a treatment. After the DTM, drinking water may assist in flushing out the metabolic wastes from the tissues.

What condition can deep tissue massage help?

The specific conditions DTM is recommended for the techniques are various. Hence, some for the common involve:

Chronic Back Pain

The American Academy of Pain Medicine reports that numerous people are suffering from chronic pain, which is more than those suffering from cancer, stroke, coronary heart disease and diabetes. In addition to these, the back pain is the most general type of pain reported, leading to 27 percent of all the cases of chronic pain.

It is also the primary cause of disability in the people who are 45-years old or younger. The studies have found that deep tissue techniques can assist in easing the pain, permitting these people a chance at the increased quality of life.

Headaches

According to AAPM, severe migraines and headaches are the second most common condition of pain and body therapy can assist in these cases.

The Migraine Relief Center shows that the reason behind this is it increases the relaxation, alleviates the tension, improves circulation and flow of blood and eases the muscle spasms. It is also beneficial when it comes to vascular headaches and tension.

Neck Pain

The neck pain is linked with the headaches as the common pain experienced by the adult individuals in America and manual therapy can assist with this too. For example, the meta-analysis and systematic review in Evidence-Based Alternative and Complementary Medicine published in 2014 examined 15 studies and established that there was moderate evidence that the massage therapy assisted in providing relief.

Shoulder Pain

Research published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science reports that one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders involves the shoulder pain as it affects almost 66.7% of the population. The soft tissue therapy can often assist in reducing this kind of pain, sometimes in some days, around 36 sessions looked to offer the highest relief level.

Plantar Fasciitis

According to JAMA Network, plantar fasciitis exists when the fibrous band on the foot bottom becomes inflamed and irritated, resulting in pain around the arch and heel areas. The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine shows that the deep tissue massage is an effectual treatment for this condition as it aids in breaking the scar tissues, releasing the muscle tension and results in elimination.

Posterior Interosseus Syndrome

Physiopedia clarifies that this syndrome is the compression of the posterior interosseous nerve, which is present near the shaft of the elbow and humerus, which results in paralysis or paresis of the fingers and thumbs. Although dry needling, ultrasound, cryotherapy, and other modalities often assist with this situation so the deep tissue work that is focused n the brachioradialis, triceps, pectoralis, thoracic outlet and other related areas.

Client Considerations

With the DTM, multiple queries often occur regarding how often the customers should get this kind of massage, who these massages are not suitable for, the possible side effects, and while the deep tissue work discharges the toxins. Here are some of the answers to your related questions.

How often should you get a deep tissue massage?

The frequency at which the customers get the deep muscle massage differ as it depends on the individual and his/her issues. For the people having particular pain complaint, there should be weekly visits for the first 3 to 4 weeks. It permits the body for accommodating to the new lengths of tissue and angles of pull on the structure of the bones. It requires some sessions for achieving the required posture with the soft tissue having a great memory of the last positions.

The prevention of injury is a major part of overall wellness and health. There will be a better result when the patient plays an active role in health and wellness.
 Massage Improves Sleeping

Who should not receive deep tissue massage?

The DTM is not for every individual and it involves:

  • The people at risk for blood clotting
  • Those with recent trauma to the body
  • Individuals diagnosed with lymphodema
  • Individuals undergoing chemotherapy or radiation
  • The individual who takes medication for blood thinning

People with severe osteoporosis should not take deep tissue work. The DTM can make a lingering soreness, making the treatment unsuitable for the people having arthritis.

That’s why it is essential that the practitioners get an entire medical history for the clients. Some of these problems may be shown by asking some questions, for the better protection of the clients.

If anyone has a difficulty getting the treatment comfortably in the past or if the individual experience complications after getting a session (emotional upset, bruising, pain), and they are not a great person for taking the DTM.

What happens when you get a deep tissue massage?

It is normal to have persistent soreness for some days after tissue therapy. You can use a cold pack covered in a towel or a heating pad for alleviating soreness.

Although it is generally safe to have massage therapy, the DTM may not be safe for every individual as it involves very firm pressure. You can talk to your doctor before you are going for deep muscle therapy if you have undergone cancer treatment like radiation and chemotherapy or have cancer, taking blood thinners, have a clotting disorder or history of blood clots, or have a bleeding disorder.

Individuals having cancer or osteoporosis that reaches to the bones should not go for DTM as the pressure may result in a fracture. If you are pregnant, you can hold off on the DTM. In this case, a better choice is having a gentle massage like a Swedish type of bodywork.

If you have any kind of skin infection or an open wound, all you need is rescheduling to keep the new infection away from developing or worsening an already present infection.

What are the side effects of a deep tissue massage?

As the DTM is administered utilizing increased pressure as compared to multiple other kinds of massages, some of the possible side effects may be noted by the customer after the complete session. They involve:

VENOUS THROMBOEMBOLISM:
The blood clot that is present in the groin, leg, o arm is venous thromboembolism which travels to the lungs after getting a strong deep tissue massage.

BRUISING:
Although some of the customers have experienced bruising, every therapist should know that the DTM does not cause pain. There is substantial bruising in many clients and in more pain, after looking for another therapist for the deep tissue work, it is pointless.

SPINAL ACCESSORY NEUROPATHY:
Another study published in the Archives of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine, showed that people developed the spinal accessory neuropathy cause droopy shoulder and scapular winging after the myofascial release as a result of muscle weakness.

HEPATIC HEMATOMA:
It is one of the painful liver conditions. With a myofascial release work which includes the right upper quadrant and abdomen, there is a pain in the right shoulder, nausea, and abdominal discomfort. In the right hepatic lobe, there is present a large hematoma in some of the individuals causing them to feel nauseous and having a fever for almost 6 months. It is also essential to check that deep tissue massage can create unintended costs.

Does deep tissue massage release toxins?

While some of the individuals regard that results in discharging the toxins, particularly lactic acid, it is considered a myth as the muscles do not hold this acid for more than one hour.

In addition to these, as long as the other toxins are concerned, the body does a great job removing them on its own through sweating them out or through the internal organs.

The only way that the deep tissue massages assist in this method is by aiding the body rest and relaxes so that it can perform these other toxin-discharging functions. Educating the people can assist in clearing up this rather familiar myth.

Why do deep tissue massages hurt? 

During the treatment, sometimes, you can feel some pain or discomfort as the therapist work on some parts where there are scar tissue or adhesions. Pain is not good, and it is not a signal that the treatment will be beneficial. Of course, the body can tense up when in pain, making it difficult for the therapist to approach the deep muscles.

If you feel pain during the session, you can tell the therapist. The practitioner can change the technique or further prep the tissues if the outer muscles are tense.

Can deep tissue massage cause damage?

Are you familiar with the precautions of  DTM? The deep tissue massage is not for every individual and it is essential to find a well-trained therapist. If you have an existing injury, have nerve damage, healing from surgery, you are pregnant, or wearing a brace or cast, then discuss with your physician before going to a massage therapist.

Though there are very fewer chances, the treatment that is not greatly performed, result in increased inflammation, pain and other issues in a patient having high risk.

Massage therapy VS. Rolfing

Rolfing is among the deep manipulation exercises that consist of almost the exact benefits as massages. It aids in decreasing pain, correcting posture, improving healing, relieving tension, and lowering stress.

In 1950, Rolfing was introduced by  Dr. Ida Rolf, who initiated this practice to help to treat the damaged fascia, the sheets or bands of fibers of connective tissue in the body that make under the skin for stabilizing the muscles and organs.

Nowadays, Rolfing is done in almost 10 sessions by professional practitioners for the treatment of a condition such as low energy, stress, neck or back pain, and limited mobility.

According to Rolf, Rolfing improves the functioning and overall alignment of the body as compared to the deep tissue massage in which there is a focus on relief and relaxation of muscle discomfort. The practitioners of Rolfing put their attention on the whole body for improving the alignment or posture, in spite of just one specific tense area.

Massage Therapy VS. Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is similar to other therapies but there is something different. Chiropractic adjustments center on the correction and manipulation of the spine alignment, which helps to correct the posture and reducing nerve damage that results in pain.

Similar to massage, chiropractic care can be efficient for improving recovery and lowering pain. It is also been linked to lower the headaches, stress and more. A simple way that chiropractic assists in treating the pain are through irritating the spinal joints and lowering the mechanical compression.

In comparison with the other experts, the chiropractors get formal training. They are the physicians who require 4-year undergraduate training and also a 4-year doctorate of chiropractic education. Different people also get education for multiple years in nutrition therapy and numerous other healing modalities that improve immunity and lower psychological stress.

How do you find the best deep tissue massage in London?

It is essential to work with a professional therapist if you are looking to try deep tissue massage in London once.

For finding out the massage therapist, you can ask your family and friends for their recommendations, ask your physical therapist or doctor for a referral or search at your own.

Keep some important things in mind when you are sorting through the therapists:

CREDENTIALS:
Always ask for the credentials and confirm that the therapist is professional and licensed to do the massage therapy in several parts of the body.

COST:
Inquire the cost per session before your treatment and while the therapist provides multiple incentives, for instance, the option of sliding scale. You can also discuss it with the health insurance provider as some involve massage therapy, particularly for some definite conditions.

AREA OF FOCUS:
All therapists are not specialized in DTM. Some are professional in multiple types and others provide DTM and what situations they experience during treatment.

A qualified DTM therapist

While the therapists must have a basic knowledge of the DTM, it is good to find a well-trained and accredited therapist. It is particularly the case if you are planning to try neuromuscular therapy which includes the deep strokes that are targeted on the soft and delicate tissue surrounding the nerves.

According to the Center of Neuromuscular Therapy, NMT is among the DTM that prefers on applying manual therapy including quasi-static pressure to soften the tissue for stimulating the skeletal striated muscle. In response to massaging the inflamed or painful muscle, the part surrounding the affected muscle that manages, the treatment is used to release the tension.

NMT therapist probably centers on the multiple factors that can make an addition to the tissue or muscle dysfunction, involving the neurotoxins, allergies, emotional well-being, nutritional components, disruptive habits of use, postural positioning, and joint pathologies.

Specific therapists have specialized training in the techniques that assist in treating people with limitations, inflammation, and injuries. Though more than one session is required for providing the relief and check the improvements in the pain, the professional therapists can recommend stretches or practices for you that you can try at home that can assist in improving healing.


The regulations for qualifications and requirements for massage vary from country to county. Normally, most of the qualified therapist requires graduating from the accredited program of manaul therapy.

For focused techniques such as neuromuscular therapy, always keep in mind it can be more damaging than helpful if done rightly, particularly, if you are working on healing and already injured. It is a great idea to mention your medical history, the sensitive areas and injuries to the therapist before the beginning of the treatment.

Multiple training programs are now accessible around the globe that need a minimum of 500 hours of basic training of massage therapy, in addition to the regular credits that need up to around 400 to 500 hours. Check that you are in good hands by checking that the therapist has proper experience and qualifications, particularly inquiring in NMT training, activating the point therapy, orthopedic massage, myofascial release, pain management, and sports massage.

What is deep tissue massage definition?
The Final Thoughts!

The DTM therapy is a kind of manipulative and firm bodywork practice that utilizes the movement and pressure for releasing the deep tissue layers, involving fascia and tensions (the protecting layer around the joints, bones, and muscles).

The DTM involves more pressure, last for a long time and is usually slow in comparison to the relaxation or Swedish massage. The advantages of deep tissue technique include improving recovery from injuries, lowering blood pressure, reducing the symptoms of arthritis, treating the anxiety, lowering the spasms, and releasing chronic muscle tension.

The DTM suits best for the individuals who are involved in highly physical activities for instance running, or those having chronic pain or injury. The Swedish massage is the best option and gentle solution if you are looking for relief from the tense muscles or a low pain threshold. Talk to your doctor before you try DTM if you have a primary medical condition.

If you want to get the best deep tissue massage in London, then you are at the right place. You have found a professional and trained therapist which will initiate your treatment after taking a detailed medical history. We have a lot of patients that feel a great difference in our treatment as compared to others. Choose us to make your life comfortable.

About The Author:

Ben has been a practical pain management trainer and a celebrated massage therapist. He believes human well-being is deeply connected to the health of mind and body both, including deep tissues. He holds numerous certifications for best of breeds massage techniques helping him on a mission for healthy London and then rest of the world. He has been an active contributor in massage technique research and on Massaggi blog.


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