Deep tissue massage is a style of massage that is designed to get into the connective tissue of the body, rather than just the surface muscles. When a massage therapist performs this type of treatment, he or she uses a variety of techniques to deeply penetrate the muscles and fascia, loosening them and releasing tension. Many clients have a more intense experience with a deep tissue massage, but also feel that it is more beneficial, because it addresses deep-seated muscle pains. Like other types of massage, it is most beneficial when undertaken on a regular basis, so that therapist and client can work together to correct long term problems, relax the body, and prevent injury.
Most massage therapists have at least some deep tissue training, and are able to go deeper during a regular massage if necessary, but to get a truly good, deep massage, it is an excellent idea to go to a massage therapist who specializes in this type of treatment. Most spas have several massage therapists who can offer a basic deep tissue massage integrating a number of techniques and styles customized for your body for maximum impact. In addition, a number of specific schools of massage such as myofascial release and Rolfing are specialized massages, and some clients prefer to work with massage therapists who have studied these techniques. Experiment by trying several massage therapists to find the one that is right for you.
One of the defining differences between deep tissue and regular massage is the use of tools. A standard massage usually only involves the hands and lower arms of the therapist. During a deep tissue massage, however, the therapist will use elbows and fingers for deep, penetrating work in the muscle. In addition, penetrating tools such as ceramic, glass, or wooden props may be used as well. A deep tissue massage also tends to be very slow, and the massage therapist will use long, flowing strokes to ease in and out of the muscle. Going in too quickly can cause the muscle to tense up, which is not a desired reaction. Many massage therapists also maintain firm pressure at trouble spots for several minutes to achieve muscle release before moving on to the next area of the body.
When clients go to get a deep tissue massage, they should talk with the therapist about any outstanding issues they would like to see addressed in the massage. Most therapists are happy to concentrate on a single body part for an entire massage to achieve lasting results that the client will truly feel. It is also important to communicate with the massage therapist about pain; a massage should never hurt, and if it is painful, it will be counterproductive. The massage may be intense, but if a client starts to feel pain, he or she should communicate that immediately. At the end of the session, lots of water should be consumed to help the body express the toxins released during the massage.