Deep tissue massage benefits

Stress, muscle soreness, and pain are part of our lives. Whether we like it or not, there are days when we feel as though our bodies are like a giant knot of tense muscles. If this happens to you, then deep tissue massage therapy might be your answer.

What is a deep tissue massage?

Simply put, deep tissue massage is deeper than a more superficial or “relaxation” massage.  Some body’s are bigger, some muscles are deeper and some tissue changes such as scar tissue are also tougher and more stubborn to change.  These scenarios require deeper, more assertive soft tissue techniques, sometimes over several visits, to effect the changes you need.

The goal of deep tissue massage is to release tension, reduce pain, improve mobility and performance.   The deeper pressure can be more intense but also may lead to better results and a deeper sense of relaxation.  Due to the deeper nature of the technique it’s very important that you seek care from a licensed professional such as a registered massage therapist or chiropractor with experience in these techniques.  If you are an athlete or have long standing symptoms related to past injury, chronic pain or postural stress, deep tissue massage may be right for you.    

Deep Tissue Massage

What are the main benefits of deep tissue massage?

Massages carry a range of benefits for your mind and the rest of your body – allowing you to relax, release stress and feel better overall.

With several massage options available, deep tissue massages have more benefits than others. Here are some of the many reasons why.

For your body

  • Relieves pain
  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Improved mobility
  • Breaks up scar tissue
  • Aids recovery after injury
  • Reduces arthritis symptoms
  • Reduced need for pain medications

For your mind

  • Reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Offers relaxation
  • Improve coping mechanism
  • Release feel-good hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins

Deep tissue massage vs. sports massage

Sports massage is intended for the specialized needs of athletes. The techniques of deep tissue massage are often utilized in sports massage but, in the hands of an experienced sports therapist, the application of techniques will be applied in specialized ways which cater to the athlete’s particular sport and with respect to their training goals and cycles. Examples include whether they are an endurance or power athlete, are they recovering from training or are they about to compete, are they a throwing athlete, hockey player or a runner.  A good sports therapist will understand the importance of these variables and will know when deep tissue massage is appropriate.    

massage vs sports massage

Does deep tissue massages get rid of knots?

The term “knot” is used casually to describe dense and painful areas in muscle tissue. Another commonly used term is myofascial trigger points or just “trigger points”.  There are likely several reasons for why these firm tender spots occur.  Increased muscle tone, fibrous adhesion or scar tissue, poor sliding between muscle layers are some of the likely reasons.

Sometimes these muscle knots go away on their own but often they become persistent or even self perpetuating.   In these cases, deep tissue massage may be an effective way to reduce pain, reduce tension and improve tissue mobility.  Your therapist may also help you understand lifestyle factors that may be contributing to your muscle problems so you can reduce your risk of recurring symptoms.

Although this type of treatment is not comfortable the entire time, your therapist can modify the depth of treatment to match your tolerance as needed.  You will often find that with subsequent treatments, your tolerance to deep pressure greatly improves due to the improving tissue quality.