Deep tissue massage uses deep muscle compression and friction along the grain of the muscle. Deep tissue massage is also called deep muscle therapy or deep tissue therapy. It is a massage technique that focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue and requires more skill and strength than a Swedish massage. Deep tissue massage is also European in origin, but it is very different from Swedish massage in its focus and effects.
The purpose of deep tissue massage is to create mechanical change in the body, changing posture and creating freedom of movement by releasing fascial adhesions and chronic muscle contracture. Deep tissue massage can be an extremely intense experience, taking you right to the edge of your pain threshold for that "hurts so good" feeling without crossing it.
Deep tissue massage is not recommended for anyone who has a fever, a contagious condition, recent injury or surgery, history of blood clot or phlebitis, or anyone who is taking blood-thinning medication. Deep tissue massage is also not recommended for people with acute or long-term mental health problems. It is only conducted if appropriate and will always begin in a gentle fashion until you are able to withstand greater intensity. Deep tissue massage is most successful when the therapist has advanced training and the client has some experience and sophistication about massage. It is not always a full body massage.
Deep tissue massage is used to release chronic patterns of muscular tension using slow strokes, direct pressure, or friction on a focused problem area. Deep tissue massage is helpful for stress, bad posture, excessive fitness training, prolonged computer work, and any other overuse of muscles that can cause muscle stiffness, back and neck pain, and headaches.
Deep tissue massage is often used to treat people who are recovering from accidents and for sports injuries as it increases blood circulation in muscles that are underused. It relieves chronic muscle tension throughout the body and can also break down scar tissue and "knots" deep in the muscles. Deep tissue massage is used to reach deep within the muscle or underlying tissue to relieve pain and addresses the source of that pain (such as tendinitis or arthritis). A consumer reports magazine stated in 2005 that deep tissue massage is more effective than physical therapy, exercise, prescription medication, acupuncture, diet, chiropractic, glucosamine, etc.
Deep connective tissue massage is a form of intense deep massage that aims to release myofascial (connective tissue) restrictions in the body and to break up and eliminate any restrictive scar tissue.
Deeper strokes can also be used to break down adhesion in muscle and connective tissue, which is common after injury and in areas of body tension. Using deep muscle therapy tools allow both patient and care givers to apply the same kind of pressure to painful muscles as a regular part of everyday self-care.
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