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Understanding Deep Tissue Massage Benefits

Updated on January 30, 2009

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.

If you can't afford a deep tissue massage, you might consider some self massage options.

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    • profile image

      Uptownspa 

      3 years ago

      Its pretty good for injuries

    • profile image

      O2 Spa 

      3 years ago

      This article really helps in understanding the benefits of the deep tissue massage! Thank you so much for writing it.

      http://o2spa.blogspot.in/2014/11/DeepTissueMassage...

    • profile image

      Chelsea 

      4 years ago

      My physical therapist gave me a golf ball muscle roller, its a great self massaging tool, i use it every day. Check it out! www.zzathletics.com

    • profile image

      John Bonk, LMT 

      4 years ago

      There is no empirical evidence or scientific study which says massage releases toxins. Also Deep Tissue Massage IS Swedish Massage, it incorporates other techniques and modalities such as Trigger Point Therapy, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, Myofascial Release, Neuromuscular Therapy, Compression and Friction.

      "Cross grain strokes" - I think you mean Cross Fiber Frictioning - is a Swedish Massage technique that can be incorporated into Deep Tissue. Not all Deep Tissue is cross fiber and not all Swedish uses strokes which follow the muscle fibers. Muscles also cross each other with fibers running in different directions.

      Swedish is also not limited to the use of only the hands and forearms, the elbows, fists, knuckles, thumbs and fingers are also used, and in some cases knees, shoulders and even the forehead.

      While I applaud you efforts in writing this blog, you are perpetuating myths and fallacies that we Massage Therapists are constantly having to re-educate our clients about. Please do a little more research next time. Thank You.

    • profile image

      Science 

      6 years ago

      While massage feels great, and there is a physical and emotional relaxing effect, I have never seen a well-conducted study that demonstrates any buildup of toxins in tissue, nor a diminished effect after massage.");

    • restrelax profile image

      restrelax 

      6 years ago from Los angeles CA

      Good information is given on this hub.

    • profile image

      , kk 

      6 years ago

      i had acupuncture with deep tissue massage yesterday. i have it done every 2 weeks and i feel great.

    • Supercellbaebe profile image

      Supercellbaebe 

      6 years ago from LONDON

      I had a deep tissue massage today, it was wonderful x

    • profile image

      chatswood massage 

      7 years ago

      Nice to know deep tissue massage. The're many kinds of good relaxing massage and one of those are deep tissue massage.

    • theindiaphile profile image

      theindiaphile 

      7 years ago from London

      Deep Tissue is a profound experience. Nice hub!

    • theindiaphile profile image

      theindiaphile 

      7 years ago from London

      Deep Tissue is a profound experience. Nice hub!

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