What is all the buzz about?
There has been more buzz around the term “deep tissue” in the past few years. We often get calls from clients inquiring whether we do deep tissue. Often when asking about deep tissue treatments, what the caller really wants to know is if the massage therapist uses a significant amount of pressure. The answer is that every massage therapist at Refresh can adapt the treatment to the individual’s condition and preference. This can include deep tissue work if it is indicated.
What exactly is deep tissue massage?
A deep tissue massage is a treatment where an increased amount of pressure is administered to make corrective changes in the soft tissue. The pressure is usually applied in slow methodical techniques. This allows the tissue to adapt to the pressure as the massage therapist moves through the muscle. Every deep tissue treatment varies dependent on the area being worked, the goal of the treatment and the client’s tolerance.
Factors to consider with deep tissue massage.
Deep tissue work is not meant for everyone or every condition. Your massage therapist is trained to assess the condition that you are seeking treatment for. They will then adapt a treatment plan that will provide you with the most benefit. Certain factors that your massage therapist takes into consideration when choosing the path of treatment can be:
How ‘fresh’ or ‘acute’ is the injury?
If an injury is recent, there may be significant pain and swelling in the area that does not allow for deep tissue work or even any direct treatment to the area of injury. Doing massage in the area can cause further harm or may significantly slow down the healing process. Often with an acute injury, massage is only indicated above the site of the injury to help reduce swelling and treat compensatory areas.
Underlying conditions and certain medications could be a contraindication to deep tissue work.
It is important to provide your massage therapist with a detailed health history. This allows them to determine if this type of work is okay for you. Conditions like fibromyalgia, varicose veins, arthritis, bleeding disorders and undiagnosed pain can all be risk factors to deep tissue work.
The Goal of the Treatment
Dependent on the goal of your treatment, deep tissue work may or may not be the right fit for you. For example, if you are coming for a massage and the primary goal is to decrease stress and relax, a deep tissue treatment may not be indicated. If the goal is to decrease swelling caused by lymph edema, deep tissue work is not how you would achieve this goal. These are just a few examples of when not to choose a deep tissue treatment. Massage Therapists are well trained to know the best course of treatment to help you reach the outcome that you are looking for.
Your preference is also taken in consideration. If your massage therapist deems it to be safe for you, they will do their best to adapt the pressure to your liking.
What types of conditions is deep tissue massage most effective at treating?
Deep tissue work can be a great tool to create positive changes in our client’s soft tissue health. There are a number of conditions and injuries that deep tissue work would benefit.
Chronically shortened (tight) musculature.
Muscles can become chronically shortened for a number of reasons which include postural imbalances, adaptations due to previous injuries, surgeries, or certain conditions.
Post exercise recovery.
Deep tissue massage will help draw circulation to the areas being worked and can shorten post exercise recovery time.
Having a series of deep tissue massages when dealing with chronic injuries can help retrain the muscle fibers to move more freely by breaking up scar tissue and realigning fibers to promote increased movement and diminish pain.
How much pressure is too much?
We have all heard the expression ‘More Pain, More Gain,’ but that is not always the case when it comes to massage therapy. Massage does not have to be painful to be effective. You massage therapist should explain that you need to communicate if the pressure is ever too much.
There should always be a good component to what you are feeling. When receiving deep tissue work, you pain level should always stay within the ‘good pain’ range. The term ‘good pain’ sounds like an oxymoron, but it is that place on your pain scale where it hurts but feels like relief at the same time. If the pressure is too much and it moves to the point of pure pain, your muscles may respond by going into a protective state where they get tighter to try to prevent further harm. This is counterproductive to what the massage is looking to accomplish. If you try to ‘white knuckle’ your way through the massage, you may leave the treatment in a worse state than where you began.
If you are interested in having deep tissue work, discuss with your massage therapist if it is right for you and how you might benefit from it.
Book an appointment to find out if Deep Tissue Massage is right for you!