Deep tissue massage is not a Swedish massage just with deeper pressure, so don’t be fooled. It is a very different treatment and serves a very different purpose.
What does it entail?
Swedish massage is performed primarily with the hands and fingers, whereas in deep tissue massage the therapist uses knuckles, elbows and forearms to do the work so that more body weight can be applied in order to penetrate to deeper lying muscles. Unlike Swedish massage, deep tissue massage is only performed over fleshy areas, not bony areas. A typical treatment would cover the back (erector spinae), buttocks (gluteus minimus, medius, maximus), shoulders (rhomboids, levator scapulae), neck (sternocleidomastoid, splenius capitis), thighs (quadriceps, hamstrings), lower leg (gastrocnemius, tibialis anterior) and the sole of the foot.
What is it good for?
The focused pressure of deep tissue massage is very effective at releasing tight muscles and adhesions. It is also good for releasing lactic acid from fatigued muscles and so is used by athletes after a hard training session or competition to aid recovery. After a match Andy Murray has an ice bath, a hot soak, deep tissue massage and then eats 6000 calories!
Releasing tight muscles in the upper leg may ease and prevent lower back pain, including piriformis syndrome in which muscle spasms of the piriformis in the buttocks causes sciatica. Women seem to be particularly prone to tension in this area.
Is it for you?
It can be quite painful, so it is not a particularly relaxing treatment, certainly not the sort that you would fall asleep during. Some people find the pain of deep tissue massage addictive, a bit like immersion in cold water. You may feel light headed immediately after the treatment and should drink plenty of water to help flush out the toxins released. It is also a good idea to allow yourself time to rest afterwards. There tends to be a two-day effect with deep tissue massage: the day after you are likely to feel a bit bruised and battered, but on day two you should feel really good and fully recovered.
If you think you would benefit from deep tissue massage, do get in touch to book an appointment or to find out more.