What is a Deep Tissue Massage?

A woman receiving a deep tissue massage

Massage is an art form, and like any art form, there are different branches.

Painting has its realists and cubists, poetry has sonnets, haikus and limericks and the massage world has Swedish, sports, maternity and deep tissue massage.

It’s one of the most popular and beneficial types of massage. In this blog post, we’ll explore how deep tissue massages work and how they can make you feel better.

What is a deep tissue massage?

Like the name implies, deep tissue massage involves applying continued pressure using deep, slow strokes to reach the inner layers of your muscles and connective tissue, reducing tension and breaking up post-injury scar tissue.

It’s different from other forms of massage that focus on helping you relax in that it helps treat muscle pain and reduce stiffness, while also allowing you to unwind.

Deep tissue massage may also lead to faster healing by reducing inflammation and increasing blood flow. Studies have shown it can help with:

  • Sport-related injury
  • Lower back pain
  • Tennis elbow
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis pain
  • Joint mobility
  • High blood pressure
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Plantar fascia

Is there a difference between deep tissue massage and Swedish massage?

Although deep tissue massage and Swedish massage use some similar strokes, they have different uses and involve drastically different levels of pressure.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Purpose – Swedish massage is designed to help you relax and alleviate muscle tension that comes from day-to-day activities like office work. Deep tissue massage is chiefly for treating chronic pain and muscle injuries.
  • Focus – Swedish massage is focused on areas of the body that hold the most tension (neck, back, shoulders) and targets your superficial muscle layers. Deep tissue massage is aimed at the inner layers of your muscles to treat muscle and tendon injuries and pain.
  • Pressure – Both Swedish and deep tissue massage involve using the fingers and palms to knead your tissues. However, during a deep tissue massage the massage therapist may also use their elbows and forearms to increase pressure.

What should I expect during a deep tissue massage?

Before the massage begins, the massage therapist will ask about problem areas. Your massage can involve one area of the body, or your entire body.

Once you’re prepared, you’ll lie down on your back or stomach. Your level of undress is your choice, but the area that’s being massaged needs to be exposed.

The therapist will warm your muscles with a light touch, then work your problem areas with deep kneading and stroking motions.

Deep tissue massage is not for everyone. We recommend it for people who are experienced spa-goers who need a heavier hand to get a benefit out of the massage.

Are you ready for a deep tissue massage? Body Restoration can help. We offer 60, 75 and 90-minute massages at our Center City Philadelphia spa.

And if you’re not sure you’re ready for a deep tissue massage, that’s OK. We also offer Swedish massages designed to help you relax, as well as sports massages to help you prepare for or recover from a workout or athletic event.

Contact us today to schedule your massage. We look forward to helping you feel restored.

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