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Why get a deep tissue massage as opposed to another massage or treatment?  What is it all about?   What is the purpose of a Deep Tissue massage?

Deep tissue massage 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 sore shoulders. The massage uses many of the same strokes as classic message therapy, with the main difference lying in the fact that a deep tissue massage involves slower movements and the application of greater pressure. The therapist works on one particular part of the body at a time, applying friction across the grain of the muscles rather than with the grain.

The primary purpose of a deep tissue massage is to work the fibers and muscles of the body, releasing deeply rooted patterns of tension. As the muscles relax, toxins are removed and blood and oxygen begin to circulate properly, making the entire body function better. Your therapist will likely remind you to drink plenty of water after a session to help eliminate these toxins from your body.

One of the things many people complain about after a deep tissue massage is the discomfort they felt during the procedure. In fact, many people say they ache days later. It is true that when deep muscles and fascia are being massaged, a certain degree of discomfort can occur. It is at this point you should tell your massage therapist about what you’re feeling and if the pain you are experiencing is more than you’re comfortable with. No matter how capable the therapist, she can’t tell what you’re feeling unless you tell her, and you are ultimately the one who decides what you can live with. Any pain you experience during the process will likely subside on its own within a day or two, but many therapists recommend applying ice to the area.

The therapist will aim to massage the deeper tissue structures of the muscles, tendons and fascia, which is referred to as connective tissue. Using slow strokes and deep finger pressure on one area at a time, she will work against the grain of the muscle to release chronic muscle tension, or adhesions. The release of these adhesions, which are commonly referred to as knots, allows the spine and extremities to move more freely, reducing the pain and discomfort experienced in the course of everyday movement.

There are reports stating that deep-tissue massage is more effective and affordable for relieving chronic pain than conventional medical remedies. Because deep-tissue massage increases the flow of blood through the body, it also helps reduce the inflammation that causes pain. Deep-tissue massage can also help alleviate muscle tension that is often a side effect of chronic pain by loosening the tight tissue clusters.

Deep-tissue massage helps ease stress and tension, which can have a beneficial effect on blood pressure. People who had a deep-tissue massage saw their systolic pressure drop by an average of 10.4 mm Hg and their diastolic pressure drop an average 5.3 mm Hg. Deep-tissue massage can help increase the body’s production of serotonin, the hormone that promotes happiness and good feelings.

Over time, deep-tissue massage therapy can help break up and eventually erase scar tissue in the body. It does this by improving lymphatic circulation and drainage to improve flexibility and range of motion in the affected area. Scar tissue is often associated with ongoing pain and stiffness, so deep-tissue massage can improve these symptoms. Massage therapy is often recommended for people who are recovering from surgery.

Deep-tissue massage can be an effective treatment for injured muscles. Because it facilitates the movement of toxins from the muscles and helps stretch tight or twisted muscle mass, deep-tissue massage can help promote healing. Because massage also helps relax muscles, it can reduce the pain caused by injuries, too. Deep-tissue massage is frequently used to rehabilitate sports injuries

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.

Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To do this, the massage therapist uses massage oil and often uses direct deep pressure. Muscles must be relaxed in order for the therapist to reach the deeper musculature.

At certain points during the massage, most people find there is usually some discomfort and pain. It is important to tell the massage 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 massage.

Deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific problem, such as chronic muscle pain, injury rehabilitation, and the following conditions: (1) Chronic pain; (2) Lower back pain; (3) Limited mobility; (4) Recovery from injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls, sports injury); (5) Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome; (6) Postural problems; (7) Muscle tension in the hamstrings, glutes, IT band, legs, quadriceps, rhomboids, upper back; (8) Osteoarthritis pain; (9) Sciatica; (10) Piriformis syndrome; (11) Tennis elbow; (12) Fibromyalgia; (13) Muscle tension or spasm; and (14) After a workout or bodybuilding.

According to a recent issue of 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.

Precautions include:

Deep tissue massage is not recommended for certain people:   (1) Infectious skin disease, rash, or open wounds; (2) Immediately after surgery; (3) Immediately after chemotherapy or radiation, unless recommended by your doctor; (4) People with osteoporosis should consult their doctor before getting a massage; (5) Prone to blood clots. There is a risk of blood clots being dislodged. If you have heart disease, check with your doctor before having a massage; (6) Pregnant women should check with their doctor first if they are considering getting a massage. Massage in pregnant women should be done by massage therapists who are trained in pregnancy massage; and (7) Massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, or areas of recent fractures.

Drinking water after the massage may help to flush out toxins that are released from muscles and properly rehydrate muscles, which can help to reduce muscle aches and stiffness after a massage.

Avoid strenuous activity after a massage.

One should do some stretching can help to prevent muscle aches and pain after a deep tissue massage

 Kathy Kiefer



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