Deep tissue massage is best for giving attention to certain painful, stiff “trouble spots” in your body. The massage therapist uses slow, deliberate strokes that focus pressure on layers of muscles and tendons.. Deep tissue massage therapy is similar to Swedish massage, but the deeper pressure is beneficial in releasing chronic muscle tension. Though less rhythmic than other types of massage, deep tissue massage can be quite therapeutic. Relieving chronic patterns of tension and helping with muscle injuries, such as back sprain, are a few of the benefits.
The focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints). This type of massage is used to break up scar tissue and physically break down muscle “knots” or adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue). The knots can disrupt circulation and cause pain, limited range of motion, and inflammation.
Lighter pressure is generally applied at the beginning of the massage in an effort to warm up and prep the muscles. Some of the more common techniques include:
Stripping – deep, gliding pressure along the length of the muscle fibers using the elbow, forearm, knuckles, and thumbs
Friction – pressure applied across the grain of a muscle to release adhesions and realign tissue fibers