deep tissue massage

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Do you ever feel stressed out? The answer to that is probably yes. Life brings stress, and with stress comes tension and knots in your muscles. Deep tissue massage is a great option to relieve tension and remove those discomforting knots. The answer to "what is deep tissue massage?" is right here.

What Is Deep Tissue Massage?

Massage Therapy

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It's great to relax. Whether it's lying on a hammock in your backyard or lounging on the beach, it's important to recharge. Deep tissue massage is a great way recharge and relax. 

What is deep tissue massage exactly? You've probably heard if it before in discussions on holistic health and wellness. Similar to a Swedish massage, deep tissue massage involves applying firm pressure and slow strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and fascia (connective tissue around muscles). This treatment is useful for relieving chronic pain and tension in areas such as the back, neck and legs.

When you have long-term muscle tension or an injury, pain surrounds the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It exists as an adhesion, or band of painful, limited motion and inflammation. These adhesions block your body's circulation. Deep tissue massage relieves these adhesions and improves circulation, allowing your body to perform its natural healing abilities. If you're still wondering what is deep tissue massage: it is a safe, convenient choice to improve your health.

What Are the Benefits?

When considering the question "what is deep tissue massage?" and whether or not it's right for you, you should know about the possible benefits. There are many benefits to deep tissue massage. This makes the question "what is deep tissue massage" one with answers you'll be happy to hear. 

While used for injury rehabilitation and chronic pain, deep tissue massage is also helpful in treating the following conditions:

  • Lower back pain
  • Limited mobility
  • Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Postural problems
  • Muscle tension in frequently used muscles
  • Osteoarthritis pain
  • Sciatica
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Tennis elbow
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Muscle tension or spasm
  • After a workout or bodybuilding

The benefits don't end there. Deep tissue massage lowers blood pressure after a 45 to 60 minute session, according to clinical studies. With so many positive effects on health, it's definitely important to consider deep tissue massage for yourself.

What Should I Expect?

Many of the strokes and related techniques in deep tissue massage are like that of a Swedish massage, as we mentioned already. A licensed massage therapist uses the techniques in a deep tissue massage to break up scar tissues and the muscle "knots" or adhesions that cause disruption in the body's circulation, pain, and inflammation.

A deep tissue massage session begins with light pressure to warm the body up and prepare it for deeper treatment. Next, the therapist applies deep tissue massage: specific techniques. These techniques include:

  • Stripping Deep
  • Friction
Massage Deep  Tissue

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This is pressure applied over the spread of muscles to release the adhesions and realign tissue fibers.

Massage therapists use their fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms. As the therapist works on tense sections with knots, you breathe slowly and deeply to encourage greater relaxation. Sessions usually last between 45 minutes to an hour. The therapist may advise you to drink plenty of water to flush away toxins released during the massage. Expect to feel relaxed and tense-free as you go on your way.

Does It Work?

When discussing what is deep tissue massage, it is only natural to ask if it works. The answer is yes, it does. A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that people's blood pressure fell after just one 45 to 60 minute deep tissue massage session. A 2010 meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that massage types such as like deep tissue reduce stress hormone levels and lower the heart rate. They also improve mood and relaxation by triggering the release of oxytocin and serotonin.

According to a Consumer Reports magazine survey of 34,000 participants, deep tissue massage ranked as more effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescription medications, chiropractic, acupuncture, diet, glucosamine, and over-the-counter drugs.

In addition, deep tissue massage received a top ranking for fibromyalgia pain from survey participants. These people frequently noticed having an improved range of motion immediately after their deep tissue massage.

Is It Right For Me?

Everyone is different, so it's important to consider your individual health challenges, needs, and goals. Deep tissue massage works for many people, so the real question is whether or not you suffer from one of the conditions it can help. Do you have chronic pain in your lower back? Deep tissue massage can help. Do you endure aching tension in your neck and shoulders? Deep tissue massage offers relief.

This type of massage is not just a suitable option for those struggling with physical health problems. Those with certain psychiatric disorders also can enjoy deep tissue massage. Stress is a major factor in anxiety, mood, and depressive disorders. Deep tissue massage relieves stress, thus lowering the risk for triggering pervasive symptoms.

Even if you are just overworked and feeling pain or overwhelmed with pressure, deep tissue massage offers invaluable relief. You think more clearly and perform better when you are healthy. You deserve to be at your best. Deep tissue massage facilitates that goal.

As always, it is important to talk with your physician before you begin any treatment. Your doctor needs to check for any fractures, breaks or other conditions that a massage could worsen. If your doctor gives you the green light, look to book your appointment.

How Long Before I See Results?

Your time is valuable, which is why you want to invest it wisely. There is no point in investing time into something that won't yield the results you want. You know the answer to the question "what is a deep massage," and that it works: so your time investment here is wise. You can expect results after your first session, like the results found in the previously mentioned clinical study. However, stress just keeps coming. Knots and tension can come back, so it's important to create the right massage regimen with your massage therapist that suits your individual needs.

Where Can I Get One?

Finding where to get a massage is as easy as taking a deep breath. Massage clinics are abundant. You can find them throughout communities across the country. Massage therapists are not only in clinics. They also work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, chiropractor's offices, and physical therapy facilities. Massage therapists serve as licensed professionals. Check to make sure your therapist is licensed before accepting any services.

Other Types of Massages

There are other common types of massages you may have heard of. These include:

Shiatsu Massage

Shiatsu Back Massage

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This massage is a form of Japanese bodywork involving localized pressure using the therapist's fingers, hands, and elbows. The therapist applies pressure in a rhythmic-like sequence along the body, held for about two to eight seconds. Shiatsu has its origins in traditional Chinese medicine, and the goal of shiatsu is to improve the flow of energy and regain balance.

Therapists perform Shiatsu massages on a mat on the floor or a low massage table, with the client wearing loose clothing. Some clients report Shiatsu to be effective for treating conditions like arthritis, insomnia, back and neck pain, and even sinus problems.

Sports Massage

Knee Tapping Massage

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Therapists use sports massages to prevent and treat injuries, improve flexibility, and enhance athletic performance. Athletes of all abilities use sports massages to prepare for or recover from an athletic event. Sports massage may help muscle pain or restricted range of motion for individuals who are not elite athletes.

The philosophy behind this massage is to manipulate the body's soft tissues to enhance athletic performance. Particular muscle groups receive focus from the therapist, depending on which sport the athlete plays. Sports massages can help with increased blood flow, improved range of motion, and enhanced flexibility. In sports massage, the strokes are faster than other types of massages. The therapist may also include compression, pressure point therapy, friction, and joint mobilization.


The answer to "what is a deep tissue massage?" is that it is a service that brings amazing relief and relaxation. It is an effective massage technique that relieves a variety of symptoms for many people. The benefits of an improved range of motion, better circulation, lower blood pressure and stress levels makes it a compelling choice for anyone in the holistic health market.

The process is simple and easy. The therapist does all the work, using soothing techniques such as friction and striping to ease away those painful knots and tension. You need not live in pain any longer. Your body is a natural marvel. Regain your health and wellness and put life back into your body. We here at the Self Healing Institute care about your well-being.

Author: Lisa Hosmer

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