Deep tissue massage is the type of the massage therapy, which requires the use of firm pressure with slow strokes in order to reach into deep layers of a muscle or fascia. It is used if someone suffers chronic aches or pain or if he has problematic areas like upper back, leg muscle tightness, low back pain and stick neck with a sore shoulder.

How it works

Even if some strokes can feel as if it they are the same as these that are done using Swedish therapy, a deep tissue massage is not the same as having the regular massage with deeper pressure.
It can be used in order to break up the scar tissue in a physical way so that the person can get rid of the adhesions and knots. This may disrupt circulation and it may cause the pain with limited range to motion. It can also cause inflammation.

At the start, only lighter pressure is applied in order to prepare the muscle and warm up. There are specific techniques that are used. Some of these common techniques are:

  • Stripping: Gliding and deep pressure along the length of the muscle fibers by the use of thumbs, knuckles, forearm and elbow
  • Friction: The pressure are applied near the grain of the muscle in order to release adhesion and then to realign tissue fiber


Having deep tissue massage will focus more on specific problem like injury rehabilitation and chronic muscle pain.

Other conditions that can be benefit from the massage are:

• Repetitive strain injury
• Recovering from injury such as falls and whiplash
• Limited mobility
• Low back pain
• Postural problems
• Muscle tension in legs, IT band, glutes, hamstrings, upper back, rhomboids and quadriceps
• Sports concern
• Sciatica
• Tennis elbow
• Fibromyalgia
• Neck pain with upper back

People also had reported that deep massage is more effective when it comes to get rid of the osteoarthritis pain compared to physical therapy, glucosamine, acupuncture, and chiropractic and prescription medication. Deep tissue massage has also been ranked top for fibromyalgia pain. Some people notice that improved range of their motion at once after getting the massage

Does it hurt?

At a certain point, when the massage is being done, it possible to feel discomfort or pain since a massage therapist will work on the places where there are scar tissue and adhesions. You have to tell the massage therapist when you feel pain if the massage is being done. Therapist will adjust his technique and will prepare the tissue further when the superficial muscle is tense.
Pain during the massage is not something good and you should not consider it like a sign that the massage works or not. When your body tenses up because of pain, then it will be hard for a therapist to get to deeper muscles.

What to expect

The massage therapist will use forearms, elbow, hands, knuckles and fingertips during a deep tissue massage. You will be asked if you can breathe deeply as a therapist works on the area that had tensed out. When you finish with the massage, then it is possible that you can feel soreness and stiffness; however, it can subside in one day. You have to contact your therapist in case you feel the pain after the massage. Drinking water after getting a massage helps in flushing away metabolic waste.

Precautions and warnings

Deep tissue massage is not good for someone who suffers blood clots since the clots can be dislodged. You should talk to your doctor if you had radiation, chemotherapy or surgery before you get a massage therapy. People who suffer osteoporosis have to avoid this type of deep pressure.

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