Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is a massage technique that’s mainly used to treat musculoskeletal issues, such as strains and sports injuries. It involves applying sustained pressure using slow, deep strokes to target the inner layers of your muscles and connective tissues. This helps to break up scar tissue that forms following an injury and reduce tension in muscle and tissue.
It may also promote faster healing by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation.
Deep tissue massage offers both physical and psychological benefits. Unlike other massage techniques that focus on relaxation, deep tissue massage helps to treat muscle pain and improve stiffness. But it can still help to you unwind mentally, too.
Deep tissue massage and Swedish massage are two different types of massage therapy. Both use some of the same strokes, but they have different uses and vary greatly when it comes to the amount of pressure used.
Here are the key differences between deep tissue massage and Swedish massage:
Intended use. Deep tissue massage is primarily used to treat chronic pain and muscle and sports-related injuries. Swedish massage is mainly used to promote relaxation and reduce muscle tension caused by everyday activities, such as sitting at a computer.
Pressure. Swedish massage is a gentler form of massage that uses far less tension than deep tissue massage. Both types involve use of the palms and fingers to knead and manipulate your tissues, but the elbows and forearms may also be used to apply increased pressure during a deep tissue massage.
Area of focus. Deep tissue massage targets the inner layers of your muscles. It’s used to treat muscle and tendon injuries, pain, and stiffness in your major muscle groups and joints. Swedish massage targets the superficial layers of muscle and focuses on the parts of your body that tend to hold the most tension, such as your neck, shoulders, and back.
It’s not unusual to have some lingering soreness for a few days following a deep tissue massage. Using a heating pad or a cold pack wrapped in a towel may help to relieve soreness.
Though massage therapy is generally safe, deep tissue massage uses very firm pressure and may not be safe for everyone.
Speak to your doctor before having a deep tissue massage if you:
have a history of blood clots or a clotting disorder
are taking blood thinners
have a bleeding disorder
have cancer or are undergoing cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation
Anyone with osteoporosis or cancer that’s spread to the bones should avoid deep tissue massage as the firm pressure used may cause a fracture. You should also hold off on deep tissue massages if you’re pregnant. Gentler types of massage, such as Swedish massage, may be a better option.
If you have an open wound or skin infection of any kind, you’ll need to reschedule to avoid developing a new infection or making an existing one worse.