What is a deep tissue massage and what are the benefits?

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is a fantastically rejuvenating massage technique typically used to alleviate aches and pains from exercise or musculoskeletal issues. Deep tissue massage benefits are wide ranging but include bringing relief from sports injuries, a sense of wellbeing and relaxation, increased circulations and reduced inflammation. 

Here we look at what a deep tissue massage is and its benefits, any after effects that you may experience, and how it compares to different types of massage.

What is a deep tissue massage?

Deep tissue massage is a type of massage technique which uses deep pressure. Combining slow strokes and notable finger pressure, the purpose is to release the tension and tightness held deeply in your muscles and your connective tissues. 

A deep tissue massage will typically focus on your primary areas of discomfort. This will typically be the back, neck, shoulders, buttocks and legs. However, it is also used on the arms, for example in the case of tennis elbow, or the feet, such as with plantar fasciitis. The increased pressure helps to alleviate any soreness or imbalance caused by injury or tenseness. If you have anxiety or are suffering with stress, a deep tissue massage will help to release the tension you are carrying in your body as a result.

A deep tissue massage typically lasts for 60 minutes to 90 minutes. It is an intense massage technique, but you shouldn’t experience any pain.

Deep tissue massage benefits

Deep tissue massage benefits fall into both the physical and mental wellbeing camps. Most massages focus on relaxation alone. A deep tissue massage brings you these benefits but also helps you physically in terms of aches and stiffness. The main benefits of deep tissue massage include:

  • Pain relief: Whether you’re struggling with a sports injury, living with plantar fasciitis, or have a chronic condition such as sciatica or fibromyalgia, deep tissue massage can bring pain relief. Evidence shows that massage is a powerful pain reliever.
  • Healing: The increased blood flow stimulated by the massage works to help reduce inflammation and promote faster healing of injuries.
  • Lowers blood pressure: Studies have shown that massage can help to lower your blood pressure.
  • Improved flexibility: Deep tissue massage can improve the range of movement in tight muscles, allowing for better performance and safer workouts.
  • Relaxation: Massage is a wellbeing wonder, and deep tissue massage has the same relaxing benefits. The massage boosts the body’s release of feel-good hormones like dopamine, serotonin and endorphins ensuring you feel blissfully relaxed.
  • Aids sleep: As well as helping you sleep better due to pain relief, a deep tissue massage can have a soporific effect later on due to the natural injection of serotonin your body receives.
  • Break-up scar tissue: If you have large or notable scars, a deep tissue massage will help to release the tension created by the scar, working fascia loose and promoting greater flexibility in the area.

The after effects of a deep tissue massage

The benefits of deep tissue massage are best experienced if you have a regular course of massages over a period of time. However, sometimes you just want that one-off massage to alleviate that troublesome knotty shoulder.

After a deep tissue massage you can expect to feel a little tender in the area that has been worked. You shouldn’t feel active pain, and if you do, you should discuss this with the massage therapist.

Most clients find that the biggest after effects of a deep tissue massage are sleepiness and thirst! We recommend booking a deep tissue massage at home so that you can drink some water and have a nap, or go to bed, soon afterwards. 

It’s not unusual to get a headache after a deep tissue massage, or even to feel slightly nauseous. This is to do with toxins on the move in your body. Drink plenty of water, relax, and both of these effects will ease.

You can also expect to feel rejuvenated in terms of your mood, due to the positive effects of the hormones that the deep pressure releases.

Some of these after effects are ‘good’ and some may feel a little worrisome. However, deep tissue massage is safe for most people, only best avoided if you have clotting issues or osteoporosis. You can expect to reap the benefits in due course once any side effects have passed. But knowing what to do after a deep tissue massage can help you.

What to do after a deep tissue massage

So that you benefit from the massage, there are a few things to do which can help.

  • Drink plenty of fluids: Drink lots of water after a massage as this will help you to hydrate, aiding the increased blood flow and flushing out the toxins. Avoid caffeine or alcohol though. 
  • Eat something healthy: It’s quite normal to feel a bit hungry after a massage. Have a healthy fruit salad or a nutritious rainbow salad with some protein.
  • Have a bath: If you’re feeling a little tender then a warm bath can help. If an injury area feels a bit sore then it can be worth using an ice pack.
  • Rest and relax: Either have a nap, or at least put your feet up to enjoy your drink and listen to some soothing music. This will help your muscles to stay relaxed. Don’t head straight out to do sport or exercise, but leave at least 24 hours so that your body benefits from the massage.

Different types of deep tissue massage

The massage therapist will focus on any particular area of the body that you struggle with. However, you can expect a comprehensive massage. There may be slight variations in the techniques used between different therapists, but fundamentally there is just one type of deep tissue massage.

Some other massage therapies use elements of deep tissue massage. For example, Swedish massage is generally a much gentler massage, but it may occasionally include some higher-pressure techniques more akin to deep tissue massage.

Before your massage begins, your massage therapist will talk with you about what you want to achieve through the massage and any particular problem areas for them to focus on. As the massage starts, the therapist will warm up the muscles using gentler strokes before building up to more pressure-based strokes and kneading.

Book an at home deep tissue massage

At Secret Spa we offer both 60 minute and 90 minute deep tissue massages at home. Our trained and experienced massage therapists come to you.