There’s isn’t just one generic type of massage; there are many different styles and techniques to consider. Talk to our beauty therapists and we’ll help you identify the right one for you.
But if you’re suffering from some chronic aches and pains and are looking for something to relive the discomfort, or you’re considering getting a massage to ease some muscle stiffness you have, look no further than the deep tissue variety.
What is deep tissue massage?
A deep tissue massage stimulates the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue known as the fascia.
It’s this tissue which surrounds the muscle, and often become stiff, hardened or stuck in place, resulting in aches, pains and limited mobility.
Using slow, deeper movements with more finger pressure, a masseuse will focus on the specific area of the body which is proving troublesome.
A deep tissue massage is often much slower than normal massages, as each stroke is applied more firmly and deliberately.
How does it work?
By targeting the fascia, a deep tissue massage breaks down the areas of tension known as adhesions (or knots), which are bands of stiff, rigid, and sometimes painful tissue found in muscles, ligaments and tendons.
It’s these adhesions which swell up and cause muscle inflammation, blocking circulation and limiting movement.
Relaxed muscles are required to reach the deeper tissue areas, and massage oil is often used to help apply direct pressure and break down those adhesions.
What are the benefits?
Deep tissue massage is ideal for all kinds of aches and pains, including sore muscles, a stiff neck, and lower back pain. It can aid with postural issues and is useful in supporting recovery from both repetitive strain and sports injuries, because:
- it reduces chronic pain and inflammation, through stimulated blood flow
- it improves blood pressure, and according to the University of Maryland helps the body produce serotonin; the happiness hormone.
- it aids muscle rehabilitation and breaks up scar tissue
Recent reports highly praised the effectiveness of deep tissue massage in reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and sciatica – more so than both physical therapy and prescribed medicine.
But if you do have diagnosed problems, be sure to discuss these with your masseuse before hand, so they are aware of any limitations you might have.
Is it painful?
As well as being corrective and clinical in targeting problem areas, the massage should also be therapeutic and stress relieving.
However, you may feel some discomfort during a deep tissue massage, and if those beauty therapists hits a particularly sore spot, there may be a little pain. This shouldn’t be deliberate pain, and should not be beyond your level of comfort.
It’s important to speak with your beauty therapist about the type of pressure applied, and let them know if it’s too much; they’ll work with you to find the ideal amount of deep pressure. Too much could only cause you further problems.
Deep breathing not only aids with relaxation, but it will also help to oxygenate the muscles and make the massage easier by improving circulation.
After the massage
It’s normal to feel stiffness after the massage, and some muscles may feel a little tender and sore for a couple of days.
To ease this, you could apply ice to the affected area. Stretching also helps ease subsequent aches, and a warm bath can be helpful too – or better still, a visit to our wellness pool.
Stay hydrated with plenty of water afterwards; this will help to flush out any toxins released from the muscle stimulation. Avoid strenuous exercise too.
If you’re interested in finding out more about deep tissue massages, speak to one of our beauty therapists in the Spa today.