Deep tissue massage is a massage style designed to get into the connective tissue of the body rather than just the surface muscles. When a massage therapist performs this type of treatment, he or she uses a variety of techniques to deeply penetrate muscles and fascia, loosen them, and release tension. Many clients have a more intense experience with a deep tissue massage, but also feel that it is more beneficial because it addresses deep-seated muscle pain. Like other types of massage, it is most beneficial when performed regularly so that the therapist and client can work together to correct long-term problems, relax the body and prevent injuries.
Most massage therapists have at least some deep tissue training and are able to go deeper during a regular massage if necessary, but to get a really good, deep massage it is an excellent idea to go to a massage therapist who specializes in this type of treatment. Most spas have multiple massage therapists who can offer a basic deep tissue massage that integrates a variety of techniques and styles tailored to your body for maximum impact. In addition, a number of specific massage schools, such as myofascial release and Rolfing, are specialized massagers, and some clients prefer to work with massage therapists who have studied these techniques. Experiment by trying several massage therapists to find the one that works best for you.
One of the defining differences between deep tissue and regular massage is the use of tools. A standard massage usually involves only the hands and forearms of the therapist. During a deep tissue massage, however, the therapist will use elbows and fingers for deep, penetrating work in the muscle. In addition, penetrating tools such as ceramic, glass or wooden games can be used. A deep tissue massage also tends to be very slow, and the massage therapist uses long, flowing strokes to ease in and out of the muscle. Going in too fast can cause the muscles to tighten up, which is not a desired reaction. Many massage therapists also maintain a steady pressure on problems for several minutes to achieve muscle release before moving on to the next area of the body.
When clients go for a deep tissue massage, they should talk to the therapist about any excellent issues they would like to see treated in the massage. Most therapists are happy to concentrate on a single body part for an entire massage to achieve lasting results that the client will really feel. It is also important to communicate with the massage therapist about pain; a massage should never hurt, and if it is painful, it will be counterproductive. The massage may be intense, but if a client begins to feel pain, he or she should communicate it immediately. At the end of the session, plenty of water should be consumed to help the body express the toxins released during the massage.