Deep Tissue Massage – When “Ouch” is a Good Thing and Other BenefitsJohn Stamoulos
If chronic pain and discomfort interrupt your life, you may want to consider massage, especially deep tissue massage to address the musculoskeletal issues that could be at the bottom of the problems. Such conditions as strains, sports injuries, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel and even high blood pressure can benefit from deep tissue massage.
Why deep tissue massage?
Deep tissue massage has a rehabilitative and therapeutic purpose. As the name implies, deep tissue massage targets the deeper, innermost layers of muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints. Impairment of these areas can occur as a result of injury, chronic disease or surgery. The prime focus of deep tissue massage is to break up scar tissue and loosen constrictions to blood flow that cause long-term inflammation, debilitating pain and prevent comfortable mobility. When blood and oxygen flow are restored, healing can happen more efficiently.
Of necessity, deep tissue massage uses more pressure and has a greater intensity in its strokes than its related technique, Swedish massage. In order to access that site or sites of pain buried within the body, a massage therapist may use, elbows and forearms to add pressure that hands alone cannot provide. Deep tissue massage also employs the use of deep kneading and different levels of pressure in the stroking movements to access areas that need support and release.
As a result of its goals, deep tissue massage is more likely to result in discomfort during and after treatment. This is partially due to some of the strokes moving against the natural alignment of the muscles in order to break them free of constrictions. The side effects of discomfort usually resolve in a few days with the use of heat and cold packs as recommended by the remedial massage therapist.
- improves blood flow and oxygen to speed up healing and increase circulation
- reduces inflammation and pain better than most medications
- with regular treatment, provides relief from chronic pain like lower back
- removes numbness and restricted functioning in the affected body areas
- repairs the bruising, swelling and pain from strains (muscle tears or overstretching)
- promotes regrowth and healing at the cellular level
- breaks down scar tissue to restore muscle and tissue normal function
- decreases painful lactic acid build up from intense workouts
- restores energy, flexibility and strength to muscles, tendons and ligaments
- releases endorphins to improve feelings of wellbeing and reduce body’s adrenaline and cortisol stress responses
- lowers blood pressure
- provides deep relaxation and release of tension in chronically tight muscles
Tips to help you before, during and after you deep tissue massage:
- Ensure you seek out a certified and experienced massage therapist
- Discuss your particular issues prior to the massage
- During the massage, try to stay as relaxed as possible even if you experience discomfort and trust the skill of your therapist
- Communicate with your massage therapist if the pain is intolerable
- Treat any lingering soreness in the few days after massage by applying heating pad or cold packs
Because of the intensity and depth of this technique, it is vital to consult you’re your doctor before having a deep tissue massage. This type of treatment should be avoided if you:
- have a history of blood clots or a clotting disorder, are taking blood thinners or have any type of bleeding disorder
- have cancer or are undergoing cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation
- have been given an osteoporosis diagnosis
- are pregnant
- have an open wound or skin infection
- have recently had surgery
Deep tissue massage is a safe and useful technique that can support athletes and office workers alike to treat stressed or injured muscle structures in the body. With regular treatments, it can provide long lasting relief from pain and return you to enjoy normal functioning, healthy activity and optimum performance.