Deep Tissue Massage
What is Deep Tissue Massage?
Deep Tissue Massage is the use of longer slower strokes along the length of the muscle or muscle fascia group(s) being worked upon. The emphasis is to realign layers of muscle fibres and connective tissue by reducing muscle tension in the fascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles). The pressure is often deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain in order to reach the superficial to deep layers depending upon level of restriction.
Deep Tissue Massage?
Whilst there is a similarity in the techniques used in classic massage deep tissue massage differs noticeably in the depth of stroke which may involve the use of elbows, forearms and knuckles including the hands and fingers to reduce fascial tension.
Deep Tissue Massage techniques are commonly applied when there is a chronic fascial tension which may produce adhesions within the muscles. Overtime these adhesions may increase tension in the fascia which may result in a reduction in the efficiency of the circulation through the muscle alongside a decrease in the level of flexibility. As a result this may potentially lead to inflammation in the muscle and tendons.
Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage
Deep Tissue Massage has many benefits. 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. It helps to reduce tension in the fascia thus breaking down adhesions between the muscle groups. This promotes an increase in the circulation thereby decreasing tension in the muscles leading to a reduction in inflammation by promoting an increase in flexibility.
Important information for athletes
For people involved in sporting activities deep tissue massage affects movement since the intention is to restore balance to the joints and musculature. For this reason we advise that treatments should not be scheduled too near a sporting event particularly if you are trying the treatment for the first time. For athletes that are familiar with Deep Tissue Massage this is less of a consideration although it still needs to be taken into account. Alternatively athletes may prefer Sports Massage.
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Majchrzyck M et al (2014) - Deep Tissue Massage and Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs for Low Back Pain: A Prospective Randomized Trial - The Scientific World Journal Vol 2014. Article ID: 28759