When I went to massage school, my goal was not to just get a job after my layoff. I had a passion for doing something that actually helped people. I wanted to help rid people of their stress, but more importantly, I wanted to take away pain. There is so much pain in the world.
We have pain from past traumas, we have pain from poor posture, and we have pain from injuries. Anyone who has ever exercised for the first time in ages, or not exercised properly, or exercised beyond their limits has experienced pain.
Those of us who are in the baby boomer generation know the pain from aging. We live in a sedentary society from sitting at a computer all day, or standing at a register all day, or whatever job keeps us from moving like our bodies were meant to do.
Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy uses many of the same strokes as regular Swedish, but with a more specific purpose. It is geared toward finding the source of soreness in our bodies, and dealing with that soreness through manipulation of the soft tissue which could include muscle, tendons, fascia (the gelatinous tissue under the skin and surrounding our muscles), or the skin.
The strokes used in deep tissue therapy are much slower and more specific in direction and location. When our pain comes from deep muscles and tissues, it is one of the best ways to reach the spots causing us to hurt.
Deep tissue type massage doesn’t have to hurt to work, but sometimes if the problem is in a very deep layer, it is necessary to put more pressure, and that can cause a little discomfort. With proper water intake to hydrate the muscles and surrounding fascia, that discomfort should dissipate quickly in a day or two.
When I go deep, I prefer to finesse the knots rather than beating up on them. I will use whatever pressure I need to convince the pain to go away. In chronic pain there are almost always adhesions where muscles fibers have tensed up to work but for whatever reason have failed to relax when they should. That can be caused from an adjacent fiber pushing on the nerve that controls its neighbor, or a slow down of oxygenated blood getting to the muscles.
Deep tissue massage helps restore blood flow and oxygen to the muscle through smooth gliding strokes or sometimes direct pressure right on the spot causing the pain.
Benefits of deep tissue can include relief of long term chronic pain, freedom of stiff joints, more fluid movement, better sleep and relief of pain related stress. Watch for my article on Swedish massage. Please let me know if you have any questions on any of my posts.