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 reduces tension in muscles and tissue. It may also promote faster healing by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation. More important to work with the tissue vs pushing into it just for the shake of working deep.
In my view and opinion for a Deep Tissue massage to be effective, there must be a Deep connection between the therapist and client. In other words communication! But more importantly, the client is able to find something that is deep within themselves to help reduce pain. Pain does not just have to be physical but can and usually is because of a deeper trauma. Trauma aka pain that goes to your core, on an emotional, spiritual or psychological level. Deep does not necessarily mean pressure. Deep tissue massage is not just about relieving physical pain, but an opportunity for you to reconnect with yourself at a much deeper level, spiritually and emotionally.
When I began my career as a Massage Therapist in 2012 at a “chain place”, I thought that the more pressure aka Deep Tissue”, I could put on someone gave most beneficial and therapeutic results. The “old” way of thinking is to cause pain to relieve your pain. Well, the “new” way of thinking is embodying the philosophy of “less is more”. Which I firmly believe in. Since beginning my massage career. I have taken myofascial release classes with John Barnes. A gentle form of bodywork that addresses the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds our organs, muscles, tendons, bones, blood vessels, nerves, and everything. I am a certified Zero Balancing practitioner that improves and brings awareness to the structure of the body and the central nervous system. I began Cranial sacral therapy which evaluates the flow of the cerebral spinal fluid as it flows between our skull, spine, and sacrum, allowing the body to auto-correct itself. All 3 of these modalities are gentle in touch and in my opinion offer more and longer lasting results using a less is more philosophy vs “DEEP Tissue”. There is a false narrative that in order to relieve a person of their pain. We as therapists need to cause or inflict more pain, and “go Deeper”, as a therapist to get results. This is not true at all!
A person living in pain, especially chronic pain will have a hyperactive nervous system, similar to fibromyalgia, and using hyperactive, haphazard or “deep pressure” will only inflame and increase the reaction to pain. By easing into the tissue and allowing it to lengthen, soften and release when it is ready. The tissue/fascia will go where it wants to go in order to regain its form and function. Allowing the tissue aka fascia to reorganize to its new form, but also allowing the nervous to relax and become more aware of areas of pain and tension. Any form of bodywork can be “deep” but for that to occur the practitioner must have patience, presence, and purpose in order for a Deep Tissue massage to be effective. Deep tissue massage is not about how strong the practitioner is, elbows, and anything in between to give deeper pressure. That is the old-school way of thinking and in my opinion, does not offer long-lasting and beneficial results for pain relief.