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Deep Tissue Massage – What is it?

Deep tissue massage is similar to Swedish massage in that some of the same techniques are used; however, with a deep tissue massage deeper pressure is used to help release chronic muscular tension and is very beneficial for relief from strains and sports injuries.  The deeper pressure along with techniques and modalities used will reportedly help to break up scar tissue that may form following an injury and reduce tension in muscle and other tissue. Deep tissue massage may also help promote faster healing by increasing circulation and reduction of inflammation.

6 Benefits of a deep tissue massage

A deep tissue massage will offer both psychological and physical benefits but it is different from other massage techniques where the focus is relaxation. Deep tissue massage provides much deeper pressure with the purpose of treating muscle pain and reducing stiffness but at the same time, this deeper massage will help you unwind psychologically, too.

Clients of ours have reported that our deep tissue massage (both on the table and on the matt techniques) using IASTM and other modalities has helped with:

  • maintenance of athlete physical health
  • Lessen symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression
  • helps lessen or eliminate chronic or acute back pain
  • helps with neck pain
  • helps loosen up muscles
  • relieves back pain due to scoliosis (which is short-term as scoliosis cannot be fixed with manual therapy; however regular deep tissue massage can help with relaxation of tight muscles and with pain relief)

Can deep tissue massage be compared to Swedish (relaxation massage)?

Deep tissue massage and Swedish (relaxation) massage are two completely different types of massage. Both types of massage will use the same types of techniques, but they have different uses and vary greatly when it comes to the amount of pressure used.

The following are some ways in which deep tissue massage and Swedish massage is different:  

Difference in Intention. A deep tissue massage is typically used to treat ongoing or chronic pain issues and sport-related. Swedish or relaxation massage is typically used to help with relaxation and may help to reduce symptoms of anxiety or stress. Swedish massage is a great way to help reduce muscular tension caused by the daily activities one performs.   

Difference in Pressure used.  Swedish or relaxation massage is a lighter form of massage that uses firm but light pressure while deep tissue massage uses some pretty specific stripping and fractioning strokes applied using differing degrees of pressure based on the clients tolerance levels. 

Read more about the differences between Swedish massage and deep tissue massage. 

What exactly happens while we get a massage?

Prior to the commencement of any type of massage, our therapists discuss the following things with the client:

  • Areas of concern
  • Range of motion in area of concern
  • A general healthy history discussion 

Once a short discussion is complete, the therapist will ask you to “undress to your level of comfort” and lie either on your back or stomach, under what we call drapes (massage sheets). Your therapist will let you know that the only area being exposed will be the area to be worked on.

The first part of any massage is spent using what is called Effleurage which is a French word meaning “to skim” or “to touch lightly”. Effleurage is simply the way therapists warm the area to be worked on.  Once the area to be worked on is warmed up then problem areas will be addressed using deeper techniques and modalities such as IASTM (instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization), Rattan Massage as required. 

4 side effects of massage 

With a Swedish massage it is pretty common to feel sleepy and very relaxed following the massage. However, with a deep tissue massage it is common to have soreness for a few days following the massage.

Though massage therapy is considered very safe, deep tissue massage uses very firm pressure and may not be handled well by all people. Your therapist will “check in” with you frequently to make sure you’re handling the pressure so don’t be afraid to let your therapist know if the pressure is too much.

If you have concerns prior to booking a deep tissue massage, talk to your attending physician and have him/her make a formal referral for massage. If you have underlying secondary issues such as cancer, a bleeding disorder or clotting disorder, talk to your attending physician to ensure that deep tissue massage is safe.

If you are ready to make an appointment for a deep tissue massage therapy treatment or if you have questions regarding the safety of deep tissue massage for a specific condition, please reach out to us

Tissue massage

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