Joseph E. Samuels, Doctor of Oriental Medicine

Many people think the term “deep tissue” means “deep pressure”. Deep tissue actually refers to focusing on the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles in order to relieve severe tension in the muscle and connective tissue. People who experience constant pain, have a physical injury or athletic individuals tend to benefit from deep tissue massage. “Deep pressure” massage is the degree of pressure that some individuals request for a full body massage as opposed to a light pressure relaxing massage. “Deep tissue” can be used for specific injured areas.

During a deep tissue massage, the therapist will use specific techniques to release chronic muscle tension through slower strokes and direct pressure on the contracted areas of the muscle. The therapist will also use friction strokes going against the fibers of the muscles, tendons and fascia to help break up and eliminate scar tissue. This type of massage is sometimes intense and can lead to the client feeling muscle achiness after the massage and even the next day. A deep tissue massage helps to loosen muscle tissues, release toxins from muscles and promote proper blood and oxygen circulation to the affected areas of pain. It is always important to increase your water intake after the massage to help eliminate these toxins from your system. This will also decrease the soreness you might experience post massage.

Deep tissue work varies greatly depending on the therapist but the techniques of the slow strokes and direct pressure on the specific areas should remain the same. As with all massage, communication with your therapist as to the amount of pressure you are able to tolerate without being uncomfortable is always extremely important.