How Deep Tissue Massages Work
The source of some injuries may often lie deep in a certain muscle, under other muscle groups or even below layers of subcutaneous fat (fat beneath the skin). This does not necessarily mean that they are ‘out-of-reach’, but some injuries do require more vigorous treatment techniques in order to relieve the pain and discomfort they are causing.
How Deep Does a Deep Tissue Massage Go?
Your physiotherapist can use particular techniques to get to these deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. The strokes of these massage techniques are slower, with a stronger pressure being applied to get to this deeper area of tension. Sometimes your limbs will be positioned in a way to relax the more superficial muscles (muscles which are close to the surface of skin). You need to remain relaxed in order for the therapist to access deeper areas, which could be causing your pain.
How does it feel?
Similar to a ‘sports-massage’, a deep tissue massage can feel slightly uncomfortable, particularly if the issues that are being addressed are chronic problems or you have not had this type of massage before. This is usually due to the therapist using fingertips, knuckles, elbows and forearms, rather than just their palms in conventional massage. If the pain is becoming too much for you to tolerate please let your physiotherapist know, as a natural pain response may make the areas your therapist is treating to become contracted, which means the physio is unable to get to the tissues being targeted.
Is a Deep Tissue Massage for You?
There are some instances, however, which may mean a deep tissue massage is not appropriate for treating your injury, but your therapist can run through this criteria at the beginning of your sessions. Used correctly though, deep tissue massage has been clinically proven to help the recovery of chronic muscle pain stemming from injuries such as whiplash, sports injuries, falls, poor posture or muscle tears from body building workouts.