Deep tissue massage is a massage technique that works on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. It uses slower and firmer strokes and pressure – deep finger pressure that concentrates on particular areas, and follows or goes across the fibres of muscles and tendons.
What is a deep tissue massage good for?
Deep tissue massage helps relax and nourish the muscle tissue by increasing the blood flow and therefore the oxygen and nutrients around your body. Conversely, increased blood flow helps the removal of stagnant toxins in very sore and strained muscles, encouraging healing and strengthening. Deep tissue massage is a particularly effective massage for people with muscular pain. It is often used to treat people who are recovering from accidents, and for sports injuries as it increases blood circulation in muscles that are underused, relieves chronic muscle tension throughout the body and can also break down scar tissue and “knots” deep in the muscles.
Before you go: The aim of deep tissue massage is not to leave you feeling relaxed. It focuses on particular physical, muscular problems. You may have been referred by a doctor or other specialist for a deep tissue massage. Generally speaking, deep tissue massage is recommended for specific problems. If you have decided to have this massage treatment yourself, give as much information about your medical history and the reason for your visit.
Contra-indications and precautions: Always inform any medical conditions, heart or respiratory, history or surgery, allergies or skin conditions, current medication or treatment. If you are a woman, in case you are or suspect being pregnant. Your answers might affect the kind of treatment you can have, or on what areas of your body that can be worked on. Big meals and alcohol are to be avoided before and after treatment. Instead, drink plenty of water.
What to expect from a deep tissue massage? You are encouraged to describe any specific problems you have, how an injury or muscle strain has improved or got worse, your lifestyle, exercise routine or diet and so best to provide you with a recommendation. Your massage will probably last around 45 to 90 minutes. You will undress and lie down on the massage table, which is usually padded for extra comfort, where you may cover yourself with towels. At no point during the treatment you become completely exposed; one little bit of you at a time is uncovered for the particular area to be treated. Oils or bee wax may be used.
Hot tip! Go for a bath after your massage as this will soothe the muscles and boost the effectiveness of the treatment.
Afterwards: You may feel a bit sore or tired (up to 48 hours) after a deep tissue massage, so give yourself plenty of time. Have a lie-down or a shower afterwards. Any discomfort should go away within a few hours. It is really important to drink plenty of water to continue to flush out the toxins in the muscles.