Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is a technique that involves focused, sustained manipulation, pressure, stripping and palpation of muscles and the connective tissue (aka fascia) that surrounds them. The goals of a deep tissue massage is to help sore, compromised muscles achieve a repaired state and to alleviate acute and chronic pain.
Deep Muscle Protocol
The massage therapist employs a variety of strokes by the use of hands, fingers, arms, elbows, the therapist’s body weight, and even specific tools to facilitate the desired depth of penetration into the affected area.
The cause of pain commonly derives from accidents, sports injuries, overexertion, or improper body mechanics or movement. These factors may cause prolonged impairment, injury, strain, or torn muscles.
When trauma occurs in an area, inflammation, redness, swelling, tenderness, and pain are significant signs that an injury is present.
When working with the musculoskeletal system on a deeper level, it’s imperative for the massage therapist to warm the tissue with gentler strokes before submerging into a deeper level of tissue.
Fascia, the connective tissue that covers every inch of our muscles and entire bodies, dissolves away with gentle, sustained, and consistent pressure, allowing for deeper levels of concentration into the belly of the muscle by the therapist.
It can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable for the person receiving the deep tissue massage, but any discomfort can best be dealt with by direct communication with your therapist.
A skilled massage therapist will always be observant of visual body cues. For instance, if you have a slow, deep breathing pattern, this will likely signify the perfect pressure. Fast or labored breathing usually indicates nearing the threshold of pain.
When working with a new therapist, it may take some time to establish a bond of communication during your massage experience, so it’s better to use verbal cues at the onset. An example of effective communication would be to express, “That feels good, but could you use deeper pressure?”
Use whatever language that is comfortable for you to provide the therapist with the best declaration of what you’re feeling. If the therapist is working too deeply and you’re experiencing discomfort, don’t hesitate to speak up and tell him or her to lighten up on the pressure. Perhaps the best guideline is to use the pain scale of 1 to 10. It might be best to speak up when your pain level is at a 6 or 7.
As in most relationships, it sometimes takes a bit of time to establish a common bond of communication, so experiment to find the best cues for your therapist.
The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well.