What is deep tissue massage?
For some people, it conjures up (invitingly or apprehensively) ideas about deeply felt pressure, “no pain, no gain,” and post-massage soreness. But, deep tissue work isn’t necessarily pressing harder. It is based on working with the muscles and not into the muscles. The muscles need to invite us in. If we try to force our way in with lots of deep pressure without technique, they usually rebel, resulting in kickback tension. I will employ deep tissue massage techniques that are relevant for your condition. Deep tissue massage releases the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow, deliberate strokes contracted, hypertonic areas of muscle tissue and or fascial adhesion or “stickiness” of the connective tissue surrounding muscle, using a variety of deep tissue massage techniques, including, among others: trigger point therapy, passive and active range of motion techniques, Cyriax and cross fiber friction, and active release. Using focused pressure on trigger points and other painful, hyperirritable areas of the muscles and fascia may interrupt pain patterns or have some neurological and structural effects we don’t quite understand. For a lot more on the concept of trigger points, check out Paul Ingrahm’s detailed discussion here. Chronic muscle tension, commonly in the neck/shoulders, upper or lower back, due to repetitive activity or overuse or restricted movement can also be addressed with these techniques as can headaches that may result from this sort of chronic muscle tension. All of these techniques function to not only decrease pain but also promote flexibility and lower the possibility of further injury. Muscleclinic.co.uk provides the following summary of just some of the benefits of massage in general.
- Massage and rehabilitation exercises and mobilizations will improve muscle tone and balance, reducing the physical stress placed on bones and joints.
- Massage helps to free adhesions and break down scar tissue. (As an aside, I would emphasize that massage is not going to break down mature scar tissue, but it may reduce scar tissue formation if done early after an injury). As a result, it can help to restore range of motion to a stiff back. Massage can help increase joint mobility by reducing any thickening of the connective tissue and helping to release restrictions in the fascia (but probably not in the way it has been commonly thought to, probably not mechanically/structurally or at least not that much–more neurologically).
- There is some evidence to suggest that massage has an anti-inflammatory effect on tissue (although further research needs to be carried out in this area).
- A deep tissue massage reduces pain by the release of endorphins (endorphins are also known to elevate the mood). It may also reduce ischemia (ischemia is a reduction in the flow of blood to body parts, often marked by pain and tissue dysfunction).
- Massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping promote relaxation and the reduction of stress.
- Passive mobilizations increase flexibility and can reset the muscle length of hypertonic, shortened muscle. Research has shown that mobilization used as a therapy can produce significant mechanical and neurophysiological effects. The explanations of these effects – the mechanism of mobilization – is still relatively unknown, especially in regards to the spine, and is subject to further research.
Deep tissue massage is one of the most requested massages in my practice, so I decided to determine which kind of deep tissue massage was the most effective and awesome feeling–and then learn how to deliver it very well. I did, and the result is you can get a great Ashiatsu massage from me at Maire. Book yours here.