DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE
Deep Tissue massage therapy is similar to Swedish massage, but deeper pressure is employed which is beneficial in releasing chronic muscle tension and holding patterns in the body. There is usually a less rhythmic approach than you would find in a traditional Swedish approach, however the work is usually done at a much slower pace which can be very meditative and relaxing. The slower pace is necessary in order to penetrate the superficial tissue and reach the deeper layers of muscle, tendon, and fascia. Fascia is the tissue considered when it is said that “everything is connected”. That is not just a fun thing to say. It is literal. Everything IS connected by the fascia. Fascia is the layer of tissue that surrounds every muscle, every individual muscle fiber (millions of them), every organ, vessel, and bone. So when we apply pressure to one area of the body (say the hamstring) we are literally affecting every other area of the body either distally (farther away like the shoulder) or proximally (closer to the hamstring, say the gluteals). Deep Tissue massage can allow us greater access to the layers upon layers of fascia, helping to facilitate greater release of tension and chronic holding patterns. Followed up by healthy movement and reinforced by continued awareness and support of new movement patterns, we can truly “re-write” our bodies physiology.
In addition to the physical benefits you may receive from Deep Tissue massage, there are similar chemical responses in the body as there are with Swedish massage. Studies show a decrease in blood pressure, heart rate and the stress hormone cortisol, after clients received Deep Tissue Massage. The release of oxytocin and serotonin that is triggered by Deep Tissue work also helps to relax the client and boost mood.
Deep tissue massage is ideal for giving attention to specific painful, stiff, or “troubled spots” in your body. This type of massage can be customized to the exact pressure you desire, even from one part of the body to another. Deep Tissue massage may be experienced as “painful” so it is paramount to know your own body response to the work and adjust accordingly. The old adage “No Pain, no Gain” does NOT apply when it comes to massage therapy. Pain is considered the Sixth vital sign and can illicit a response in the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) which is responsible for increasing heart rate, blood pressure and the release of stress hormones. When choosing Deep Tissue massage, remember, it is not a contest for how much pain you can handle. Working at your “edge” is a healthy and often the most effective way to relieve tension and holding patterns long-term. If you are still able to breathe comfortably and maintain a relaxed state in your muscles throughout your entire body while the work is being performed, this is a good indication that you are at a healthy “edge”.
Speak to your massage therapist about your desired outcome for massage to find out if Deep Tissue is right for you.
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