While some of the strokes may feel the same as those used in Swedish massage therapy, deep tissue massage isn’t a stronger version of a Swedish massage.
Deep tissue massage techniques are used to break up scar tissue and physically break down muscle „knots” or adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) that can disrupt circulation and cause pain, limited range of motion, and inflammation.
At the beginning of a deep tissue massage, lighter pressure is generally applied to warm up and prepare the muscles. Specific techniques are then applied. Common techniques include:
Stripping: Deep, gliding pressure along the length of the muscle fibers using the elbow, forearm, knuckles, and thumbs.
Friction: Pressure applied across the grain of a muscle to release adhesion’s and realign tissue fibers.
Massage techniques involve fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during a deep tissue massage.
If you’re experiencing any of the above conditions you can benefit from deep tissue massage therapy. Deep tissue massage therapy can provide the following benefits:
- Reduce muscle tension
- Increase blood flow
- Reduce inflammation
- Increase mobility
- Relieve pain
- Break up scar tissue
- Ease tight, twisted, or knotted muscles
- Reduce pain
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased flexibility
- Chronic aches and pain
- Lower back pain
- Muscle spasm
- Tension from stiff muscles such as:
- Upper back
- Calf muscles
- IT band
- Limited mobility
- Whiplash and other injuries including sports injuries
- Surgery recovery
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hunched back, sway back and other postural issues
- Golf/Tennis elbow
- Tension headaches
A contraindication is a situation when massage should not be performed. Continuing with treatment may be more detrimental than beneficial and in some cases may cause serious medical problems.
- Open wounds Any cuts, lacerations or grazes.
- Muscle Ruptures In the acute stage there may still be bleeding. Massage will increase
- bleeding and tissue damage and prolong recovery. After the initial 48 to 72 hours, massage may
- be possible but it will depend on the extent of the injury.
- Tendon Ruptures The above also applies to tendon injuries. If a tendon is complete ruptures it will need surgical intervention.
- Partial muscle and tendon tears Massage may be suitable after a minimum period of 48 hours, longer for more serious injuries.
- Contusions( Bruises) These are impact injuries causing bleeding within the muscle. Massage to a contusion too soon after the injury may cause further damage and may lead to Myositis
- Ossificans (bone growth within the muscle).
- Burns, Chilblains and Broken bones Massaging all of these will hurt and cause damage.
- Periostitis This is inflammation of the sheath that surrounds the bone.
- Rheumatoid arthritis and gout These are inflammatory conditions. The same rules apply here as to acute injuries. Massage may cause further inflammation.
- Bursitis Inflammation to a bursa. A bursa is a small sack of fluid that helps tendons pass over bones at joints. If there is a pain, swelling, and redness over the skin then massage should be avoided.
- Myositis ossificans A bad contusion or muscle rupture may begin to calcify (grow bone).
- Massage will make the damage worse.
- Infections of the skin and soft tissue Bacterial infections, viral infections, and fungal
- infections can be spread to other areas of the body by the therapist. Pain may also result from the infection, not an injury so massage will not help.
- Thrombosis This is a rare but potentially lethal blood clot in a vein. It is common in the calf muscle area. Deep, sore pain in the belly of the muscle may be a thrombosis. If this is massaged, it may dislodge, travel up the veins and damage the heart.
- Artificial blood vessels which are implanted through surgery should be avoided.
- Bleeding disorders such as hemophilia Massage may cause damage to tissues and result in bleeding.
- Tumors If you are unsure of any lumps and bumps in the muscle or skin then leave well alone.
- Most often these lumps are muscle spasms or fatty tissue.
All solid foods and drinks except for water should be avoided for 2-3 hours beforehand
Alcohol and recreational drugs for 24 hours before and afterward.
Wear comfortable clothing, layers are best and remove tight or restrictive jewelry beforehand.
After the massage, you may feel some stiffness or soreness, but it should subside within a day or so.
Drink plenty of water post-treatment to assist the detox process.
The massage follows the same principles incorporated in Chinese medicine regarding Chi (energy) within the body, that energy should be flowing freely but due to an unbalanced lifestyle and stress, Chi becomes blocked or congested manifesting itself in illness if not corrected.
The key to the success of this treatment is to ensure that the relationship client and therapist is strong and trusting.