Deep tissue massage therapy is similar to Swedish massage. However, a deep tissue massage combines slow strokes and notable finger pressure. The purpose is to release the tension and tightness held deeply in your muscles and your connective tissues. The focus stays on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons, and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints).
It is a fantastically rejuvenating massage technique typically used to alleviate aches and pains from exercise or musculoskeletal issues. Deep tissue massage benefits are wide ranging but include bringing relief from sports injuries, a sense of wellbeing and relaxation, increased circulations and reduced inflammation.
The benefits of deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage benefits fall into both the physical and mental wellbeing camps. Most massages focus on relaxation alone. A deep tissue massage brings you these benefits but also helps you physically in terms of aches and stiffness. The main benefits of deep tissue massage include: Pain relief - Whether you are struggling with a sports injury, living with plantar fasciitis, or have a chronic condition such as sciatica or fibromyalgia, deep tissue massage can bring pain relief. Evidence shows that massage is a powerful pain reliever. Healing - The increased blood flow stimulated by the massage works to help reduce inflammation and promote faster healing of injuries. Lowers blood pressure - Studies have shown that massage can help to lower your blood pressure. Improved flexibility - Deep tissue massage can improve the range of movement in tight muscles, allowing for better performance and safer workouts. Relaxation - Massage is a wellbeing wonder, and deep tissue massage has the same relaxing benefits. The massage boosts the body’s release of feel-good hormones like dopamine, serotonin and endorphins ensuring you feel blissfully relaxed. Aids sleep - As well as helping you sleep better due to pain relief, a deep tissue massage can have a soporific effect later on due to the natural injection of serotonin your body receives. Break-up scar tissue - If you have large or notable scars, a deep tissue massage will help to release the tension created by the scar, working fascia loose and promoting greater flexibility in the area.
What happens during the massage?
Before your deep tissue massage, your massage therapist will want to know about your problem areas. A deep tissue massage can involve your entire body or just one area. Once ready, you will be asked to lie on your back or stomach, under a sheet. Your level of undress is based on your comfort, but the area being worked on will need to be exposed. The massage therapist will warm up your muscles using a lighter touch. Once you are warmed up, they will start working on your problem areas. They will use deep kneading and stroking with varying amounts of intense pressure.
Massage after effects
The benefits of deep tissue massage are best experienced if you have a regular course of massages over a period of time. However, sometimes you just want that one-off massage to alleviate that troublesome knotty shoulder. After a deep tissue massage you can expect to feel a little tender in the area that has been worked. You should not feel active pain, and if you do, you should discuss this with the massage therapist. People find that the biggest after effects of a deep tissue massage are sleepiness and thirst. Therapists recommend booking a deep tissue massage at home so that you can drink some water and
have a nap, or go to bed, soon afterwards. It’s not unusual to get a headache after a deep tissue massage, or even to feel slightly nauseous. This is to do with toxins on the move in your body. Drink plenty of water, relax, and both of these effects will ease.
You can also expect to feel rejuvenated in terms of your mood, due to the positive effects of the hormones that the deep pressure releases. Some of these after effects are good and some may feel a little worrisome. However, deep tissue massage is safe for most people, only best avoided if you have clotting issues or osteoporosis. You can expect to reap the benefits in due course once any side effects have passed. But knowing what to do after a deep tissue massage can help you.
What to do after a massage
So that you benefit from the massage, there are a few things to do which can help. Drink plenty of fluids - Drink lots of water after a massage as this will help you to hydrate, aiding the increased blood flow and flushing out the toxins. Avoid caffeine or alcohol though. Eat something healthy – It’s quite normal to feel a bit hungry after a massage. Have a healthy fruit salad or a nutritious rainbow salad with some protein. Have a bath - If you are feeling a little tender then a warm bath can help. If an injury area feels a bit sore then it can be worth using an ice pack. Rest and relax - Either have a nap, or at least put your feet up to enjoy your drink and listen to some soothing music. This will help your muscles to stay relaxed. Don’t head straight out to do sport or exercise, but leave at least 24 hours so that your body benefits from the massage.