This therapy is used for chronic aches and pain, as well as a stiff neck or upper back, lower back pain, leg muscle tightness and sore shoulders.
HOW DOES DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE WORK?
While some of the strokes may feel the same as those used in Swedish massage therapy, deep tissue massage is unique in the sense that it is used to dissipate scar tissue and physically break down muscle “knots” or adhesions – bands of painful, rigid tissue – that can disrupt circulation and cause pain, a limited range of motion and inflammation.
At the beginning of the massage, lighter pressure is applied to warm up the muscles. Specific techniques are then applied, which include:
- Stripping: deep, gliding pressure along the length of the muscle fibres using the elbow, forearm, knuckles, and thumbs
- Friction: pressure applied across the grain of a muscle to release adhesions and realign tissue fibres
Our therapists may use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during a deep tissue massage. You may be asked to breathe deeply as the 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 the spa 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. Some light bruising is also a possible side effect of deep tissue massage.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE?
Deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific health problem, such as chronic muscle pain, injury rehabilitation, and 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 pain as the massage therapist works on areas where there are adhesions or scar tissue. Pain isn’t 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.
You should always tell your massage therapist if you feel pain during the massage. The therapist can adjust the technique or further prep the tissues if your superficial muscles are too tense.
IS DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE RIGHT FOR ME?
Deep tissue massage may not be safe for people with blood clots (e.g. thrombophlebitis or deep vein thrombosis), due to the risk that they may become dislodged. If you have blood clots or are at risk of forming blood clots, it’s essential that you consult your doctor before undergoing a deep tissue massage. This also applies to anyone who has had recent surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or any other medical procedure. If you suffer from osteoporosis it is also advisable to avoid the deeper pressure of this type of massage.
Massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed or infected skin, skin rashes, unhealed or open wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, fragile bones, or areas of recent fractures. If you have any medical conditions, it’s important to consult your doctor beforehand to find out if they recommend massage therapy.
Pregnant people should check with their doctors if they are considering getting a massage. Deep tissue massage (or any strong pressure) should be avoided during pregnancy. Always obtain a doctor’s consent for massage if you are pregnant.