Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of
muscles and connective tissue. It is especially helpful for chronic aches and pains and
contracted areas such as stiff neck and upper back, low back pain, leg muscle tightness, and
Some of the same strokes are used as classic massage therapy, but the movement is slower
and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain in order to reach the
sub-layer of muscles and the fascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles).
How Does It Work? Techniques
When there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful,
rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation.
Muscles must be relaxed in order for the therapist to reach the deeper musculature.
Does Deep Tissue Massage Hurt?
At certain points during the massage, most people find there is usually some discomfort and
It is important to communicate to the therapist when things hurt and if any soreness or pain you
experience is outside your comfort range.
There is usually some stiffness or pain after a deep tissue massage, but it should subside
within a day or so. The massage therapist may recommend applying ice to the area after the
Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific problem, such as chronic muscle pain,
injury rehabilitation, and the following conditions:
Lower back pain
Recovery from injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls, sports injury)
Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
Muscle tension in the hamstrings, glutes, IT band, legs, quadriceps, rhomboids, upper
Muscle tension or spasm
After a workout or bodybuilding
According to Consumer Reports magazine, 34,000 people ranked deep tissue massage more
effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescription
medications, chiropractic, acupuncture, diet, glucosamine and over-the-counter drugs.
Deep tissue massage also received a top ranking for fibromyalgia pain. People often notice
improved range of motion immediately after a deep tissue massage.
What Can I Expect During My Visit?
Massage therapists may use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during the deep
You may be asked to breathe deeply as the massage therapist works on certain tense areas.
Will A Deep Tissue Massage Hurt?
It shouldn't hurt, but it's likely to be a bit more uncomfortable than a classic Swedish massage.
You should always feel free to speak up if the pressure is too much for you.
It's important to drink a lot of water after a deep tissue massage to help flush lactic acid out of
If you don't, you might be sore the next day.
It's possible that you might feel some soreness the day after a deep tissue massage even if you
DO drink water. This just means a lot of waste products were flushed out of the tissues. It
should pass within a day or so.
How Fast Will I Get Results With A Deep Tissue Massage?
It's important to be realistic about what one deep tissue massage can achieve. Many people
ask for more pressure, thinking that if the therapist just pushes hard enough, they can get rid of
all their knots in an hour. This just won't happen.
In fact, undoing chronic knots and tension built up over a lifetime is best achieved with an
integrated program that includes exercise, work on your posture and ways of moving, relaxation
techniques and a regular program of massage.
Finally, while deep tissue is certainly valuable, you should be aware that gentle styles of
massage like craniosacral therapy can also produce profound release and realignment in the