Deep Tissue – Does it really hurt?
Over the years I have treated many clients using deep tissue massage, some people find it quite painful whilst others feel some pain, and a small select group really have not much pain at all. So how do you get into the latter group – the NO pain group? Read on and I will explain.
Deep tissue techniques are a part of the Remedial Massage Therapists’ group of skills or techniques. Essentially, deep tissue massage is exactly as it sounds, massaging the deeper tissues in your body. The body is arranged in layers; most superficially we have the skin and fat or adipose tissue layers, but underneath that protective layer we then have muscles and fascia, blood vessels, nerves, organs bones etc.Let’s take your back for example, under the skin the first muscle we come across is the Trapezius muscle – that big kite shaped muscle that takes up a large portion of your cervical and thoracic regions. It is the most superficial muscle and it lies over several more layers of muscles, such as your Rhomboids, and Erector Spinae.In order to reach the Erector Spinae and Rhomboids, we first need to assess the Trapezius and ‘soften’ it in order to delve deeper. To then reach the deeper muscles we use several techniques that push through the trapezius. You guessed it, this is where it can be more painful. The techniques use the therapist’s forearm or elbow, palm, knuckle or fist (rarely fingers or thumbs). Importantly, the technique is VERY SLOW. We sink in and wait for the muscle to release, rather than trying to steam roll it – and this is where the difference lies between a well-trained therapist and a therapist with little or no training in this discipline. Contrary to belief – it is not ‘go hard or go home’; you must warm up the superficial layers first before even approaching the deeper layers. I teach my massage students to work up to a level of 7/10 for pain, for short bursts, NOT the duration of the massage. So how to make it less painful? Stretches, modify your lifestyle, choose a well-trained massage therapist who works with you AND regular massage! As we work with our clients, with an injury or a postural issue, we have an individual treatment plan agreed upon by therapist and client. Often is the case that after the second or third treatment the pain had significantly reduced during the massage! The client has better range of motion and less issues with pain or discomfort. They have done their homework and a Deep Tissue Massage is something they now look forward to as part of their maintenance programme (fortnightly, monthly six weekly or just as needed). So Deep Tissue Massage can be enjoyable, it helps with many chronic conditions such as tennis elbow, Lower back pain • Carpal tunnel • Old sports injuries • Osteoarthritis • Fibromyalgia • Really any form of chronic pain. After the massage you may feel tired or sore for a couple of days, but this is a normal response to the treatment and after the first couple of days – well then you can really notice the difference. Please let your therapist know if you have any acute conditions, inflammation, osteoporosis, or importantly are on any blood thinners – and the treatment will be modified or discussed to see if another technique may be more suitable. So book in for your Deep Tissue Massage today and feel the difference in your body