While the modern form of deep tissue massage first began in the mid 19th century Canada, techniques that involve the application of focused pressure on the inner layers of muscle tissue in order to alleviate muscle spasm or adhesions, commonly termed “knots,” were first employed by the ancient Egyptians.
Originally developed to address specific conditions such as whiplash, modern deep tissue massage first gained attention within the Unites States with the publication of “Muscles—Your Invisible Bonds” by Canadian physician Therese Phimmer. Deep tissue massage has since been adopted b sports medicine practitioners as well as muscular therapists who employ it to deal with soft-tissue injuries and to help alleviate chronic pain.
Deep tissue massage works by manipulating the connective tissues that attach, enclose and separate muscles. Deep tissue massage works to loosen these tissues, known as fascia, in areas where they may have stuck together. This technique promotes improved circulation in targeted areas and increases flexibility.
Employing motions and techniques similar to Swedish massage therapy, deep tissue massage typically applies force against, rather than with, the muscular grain. Practitioners commonly utilize their fingers, knuckles, fists, elbows and may even make use of purpose-made tools and utensils in order to focus and apply pressure on specific areas.
More intense than a traditional massage the amount of pressure that is being focused and applied means that deep tissue massage therapy can become a bit uncomfortable at times, but should never actually be painful or cause bruising.
Pain Management – Effective for reducing the pain and stiffnesses associated with minor athletic injuries, muscle spasms and strain, deep tissue massage is also utilized to deal with more serious injuries, such as whiplash as well as a range of medical conditions including osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.
Multiple sessions may be needed in order to ensure deep tissue massage therapy is able to provide the best results.
Muscle Relaxation and Flexibility – Deep tissue massage can improve circulation to targeted areas in order to providing relief to muscles that have been strained or injured.
This style of massage can also result in improved flexibly and restored range of motion, key concerns for those recovering from a sports injury.
What to Expect:
Drinking plenty of water in order to stay hydrated can allow for a more comfortable session, as will a pre-session hot shower or a trip to the sauna that may serve to relax muscles.
Communication with your practitioner before and during a deep tissue massage can be very important. Providing details regarding an injury or preexisting medical condition as well as communicating throughout the session will ensure the massage can be as painless and productive as possible.
Wearing loose-fitting comfortable clothing that can be easily removed can also ensure you are able to enjoy a more comfortable session.