Deep Tissue Massage targets the deep tissue structure of the fascia and muscles, referred to as connective tissue. Of the many types of massage, deep tissue focuses on the release of muscle tension and chronic knots (aka adhesions).
Deep tissue massage can break up and eliminate scar tissue from previous injuries. A common problem is that stressed muscles can block nutrients and oxygen from getting to where they need to go, and this will cause inflammation that allows toxins to build up in your muscle tissue. The inflammation and toxins contribute to pain and stress. Deep Tissue Massage breaks up and releases the built-up toxins by loosening the muscles. With the toxins released, blood and oxygen can circulate as they should through one’s body. Being properly hydrated before you go to your massage appointment and drinking plenty of water after one of these massages is highly recommended.
The strokes used in Deep Tissue Massage are similar to those used in a Swedish Massage except more pressure is used and it uses cross grain strokes (strokes that go across the gain of the muscles instead of with the grain). As with a classic Swedish massage, you will be lying naked on a massage table and partially covered with a sheet or towel.
During Swedish massage, usually the therapist will only use their hand and forearm, however with a Deep Tissue Massage, elbows, fingers, and ceramic, wooden, or glass tools may be used for optimal penetration of the muscle. The speed of the strokes will be slower than a classic massage as well, which means they are longer in duration (about an hour and a half, depending on the therapist and how much you pay). If you tell the therapist where your trouble spots are (everyone has one or two) before the massage starts, during the massage the therapist will apply pressure and hold it for a few minutes before moving on, for extra relief.
Many massage therapists have some basic deep tissue training, so they can do some of the techniques during a classic massage. However, for a good Deep Tissue Massage you should find a massage therapist that specializes in deep tissue massaging. There may be some soreness after a deep tissue massage; however, the soreness should go away within a day or two. The massage should not hurt but will be a little more uncomfortable than a classic massage. If you feel the pressure is too hard, tell the masseur. Do not act tough if the massage causes severe pain or the pressure is too hard, as it may do more damage than restoration.
A good way to recover from a Deep Tissue Massage is by soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salt. This soaking is recommended because it will help get more of the toxins out of your body (Epsom salt draws the toxins out into the water). Your muscles need some rest after one of these massages, even if you feel no soreness. So do not plan any activities within a day of a Deep Tissue Massage.
Some people think that if you just push hard enough, a knot could be worked out in one session, but this is not the case. For built-up tension and chronic knots (adhesions) deep tissue massage is just one part of the treatment. If you do not exercise, correct your posture, and/or employ relaxation techniques along with Deep Tissue Massage you may not get the full benefits from your massage.
One of the most important things to remember to do when getting a Deep Tissue Massage is to breathe deeply during the session and while relaxing afterwards. Oxygenating the muscles will help the massage do its work and ease discomfort.