Deep tissue massage is a type of massage that focuses on deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It is beneficial for chronic muscle tension or soft tissue injuries. Some of the same strokes are applied as in a relaxation massage but they are slower and much deeper. Adhesions in muscles, tendons, and ligaments can block circulation and cause pain. Limited range of motion and inflammation may also be present.
Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To accomplish this, the therapist will use direct pressure or friction to the inflamed area. This can cause discomfort or pain. It is important to let your therapist know when the pain is outside of your comfort level. You may experience sore or stiff muscles for a day or so after your treatment. You can apply ice to these areas to help decrease the pain and drink plenty of water.
Studies have shown massage therapy to be beneficial for stress relief, managing anxiety and depression, pain management, and blood pressure control. Massage can also help with infant growth, boosting immunity, sports related injuries, and during cancer treatments. Beyond these benefits people enjoy massage because it involves care and comfort which brings about a sense of well being. According to an August 2005 issue of Consumer Reports magazine, 34,000 people ranked deep tissue massage more effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescription medications, chiropractic, acupuncture, diet, glucosamine and over-the-counter drugs.