Definition of a Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage focuses on the deep layers of muscle tissues in an effort to release chronic patterns of tension. 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.

  1. Who Needs It

    • Stressed muscles block oxygen and nutrients, leading to inflammation that builds up toxins in the muscle tissue. Anyone who has suffered from chronic pain in his muscles may benefit from a deep tissue massage performed by a chiropractor or licensed massage therapist.


    • 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.

    How It's Done

    • 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.

    What's Accomplished

    • If a deep tissue massage is performed correctly, you should feel the results within a day or two and find movement to be less difficult.

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