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The most common, the Swedish massage, is used primarily for relaxation and is the type of technique used on most clients when they receive a massage. This article will focus on a lesser known, and more therapeutic, technique called Deep Tissue Massage.

Swedish (Deep Tissue Massage) massage is used primarily for relaxation

Deep Tissue Massage therapists have a strong understanding of the layers of the body and the tissue within these layers.  They utilize various techniques to relax, lengthen, and release holding patterns in theses tissues in effective and energy efficient ways.  The key to effectively using this massage therapy technique is to work deeply, slowly, and intuitively. Working too fast on any muscle or area can cause the client to guard and resist, ultimately preventing the body from responding positively to the treatment. 

Clients expressing complaints of neck stiffness

Clients expressing complaints of neck stiffness, back aches, arm pain, hand pain, and shoulder pain

are good candidates for deep tissue massage. By targeting specific muscle tissues found in areas such as the arms, legs, or back, deep tissue massage can reduce muscle tension and help relieve pain and dysfunction in a muscle. Other deep tissue massage benefits include: 

  • Pain relief from chronic muscle tension
  • Improved posture and flexibility
  • Increased blood flow to muscle tissue
  • Elimination/reduction of adhesions and scar tissue

As with many therapeutic techniques, clients may experience some discomfort with Deep Tissue Massage. The most common side effects are minor muscle soreness, muscle fatigue, inflammation, heat, and redness. Discomfort can be minimized or prevented if the therapist works slowly with the client’s muscles; allowing muscles to release naturally without creating resistance.  Another important key for massage therapists is to educate clients regarding the deep tissue technique and the body’s natural healing response to it. A good analogy to use to explain the body’s response to deep tissue massage is comparing it to the “good hurt” an individual feels 1-2 days after strenuous exercise.

In summary, Deep Tissue Massage is an effective way to relieve muscle pain and can have long lasting results. To be effective, the therapist must work with the client’s body, not against it while also providing information on the technique and setting appropriate expectations for results. If done correctly, Deep Tissue Massage is a great technique to help clients experience pain relief and get on the road to recovery.