The Myths and Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage
Many people come in to our Hamilton or Stoney Creek massage clinics requesting deep tissue massages. This is a popular request amongst all walks of life as there are many benefits of deep tissue massage.
Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage
- Deep tissue massage is able to access deep layers of muscles. The focus of a standard Swedish or Relaxation Massage is the top most layer of muscular tissue. The therapist may spend some time on deeper layers, but this time is minimal compared to a deep tissue treatment. If your core issue lays below the surface, an effective treatment would have to address these deeper layers.
- Deep tissue massage can help increase mobility. If you have chronic muscular tension that is limiting your body’s ability to move freely, deep tissue treatments can help. This will have a positive effect on your Range of Motion (ROM) and the functioning of the affected joint.
- Those who enjoy deep tissue massage find it incredibly relaxing. There are many benefits of being in a state of relaxation. The body’s rest and restore system is activated, healing is encouraged, and better sleep cycles can be restored.
- Many techniques used in deep tissue massage address the surrounding fascia along with the muscles themselves. All muscle tissue is surrounded in fascia (AKA connective tissue). Fascia is generally thicker and harder than muscular tissue, and it can be somewhat resistant to change. When the fascia is addressed, the muscles in that area are able to lengthen and normalize. This enhances the therapeutic effects of the massage.
Myths of Deep Tissue Massage
As beneficial as deep tissue treatments are for some, they are not for everyone. Here are some common misconceptions regarding deep tissue massage:
- “The more pain, the more gain.” This is perhaps the most dangerous misconception held by some massage therapists and lay people alike. Massage should never be painful. There is a difference between ‘oh, that hurts so good,’ and ‘ow that just plain hursts!’ The former is OK, but the latter is not. If your nervous system is registering danger, your muscles will not be able to release and relax. If you find yourself holding your breath or clenching your muscles, this is a sign the pressure is too deep. Let your therapist know if this occurs.
- Deep tissue massage is the only effective type of massage. The only way any type of massage can be effective is if your nervous system is able to enter the rest and restore mode. This requires a state of deep relaxation. If for whatever reason you do not truly find deep tissue treatments relaxing they are not the best fit for you. That is OK. There are other effective forms of pain management that are gentle and effective. Other effective approaches are Hot Stone Massage or a combination of Swedish Massage and Positional Release Therapy.
- I am an athlete, therefore deep tissue massage is really my only option. Not true. Again if you don’t find deep tissue truly relaxing it is not the best fit regardless of how athletic you are. I have seen many very tough athletic men who simply respond better to a gentler approach. A good sports massage can include non aggressive techniques such as Positional Release Therapy, active stretching and general Swedish approaches. Don’t force deep tissue upon yourself just to appear tough / strong / macho. There is no judgement in the massage room. The only thing that matters is that you get the treatment that is most effective for you.
- Sometimes deep tissue work is not safe (AKA contraindicated). If you have a recent injury and inflammation is still present, deep tissue massage could cause more damage than good. We do not want to use deep techniques and make an inflamed area even more inflamed. Lighter work is needed in these cases until your body is ready for deeper work.
Deep Tissue Massage at Bodhi Massage
Not all deep tissue massage treatments are created equal. Some massage therapists do not enjoy giving deep treatments because it can be hard work. Others do not have adequate training in this area and don’t know how to get deep safely. Our Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) loves giving deep tissue massages and has sought out additional training in this area. You can be sure your treatment with us will be safe, effective and that your therapist will be engaged in the treatment.
Book your massage appointment today! Call 289-684-4214 or email us.
Last updated Feb. 29, 2016