Deep tissue massage is simply the technique of applying intense pressure and strokes on the deep layers of the musculoskeletal muscle tissue with a view of treating chronic pain. A massage therapist who uses their forearms or palms to apply pressure on the area of focus performs it. Usually, the patient lies on the back or on their stomach, and the area of focus is exposed. It is similar to Swedish massage, the only difference being the intensity of the pressure being applied. Deep tissue massage is performed by applying more pressure than during Swedish massage. Deep tissue massage is mainly used to treat muscle pains and injuries in people who engage in intensive physical activities such as athletes. It is usually intended for healing, other than relaxation. This article looks at the benefits of deep tissue massage.
- Reduces Arthritis Symptoms
Firm pressure and strokes have been found to reduce or keep you at bay with symptoms of arthritis by reducing tension in the muscles, enabling them to relax. It is known that blood flow is enhanced when massage is applied on muscles. Arthritis symptoms are anxiety, stiffness, reduced motion ability and chronic joint pain. All these can be reduced by use of deep tissue massage.
Research done on arthritis has shown that massage done with intense pressure has resulted in more reduction in arthritis symptoms than massage done with little pressure. This is because lighter massage just arouses the heart, but deep massage often results in relaxation by reducing tension.
- Reduces Blood Pressure
When blood does not flow well in the vessels, blood pressure tends to rise. By applying deep massage on an area of focus, the muscles on that particular part usually become relaxed. This relaxation reduces stiffness and tension that inhibits blood flow in the arteries and veins. At last, blood pressure is lowered. Studies have shown that two people whose blood pressure is taken before a deep or light massage will have different blood pressure readings. Readings for the one given deep massage will be lower than the one offered a lighter massage.
- Reduces Chronic Back Pains
Chronic back pains are caused by stiffness and inflammation in the back muscles. By applying deep massage on the back muscles, they are relaxed by reducing tension and stiffness. As a result, blood flow in the muscles is enhanced and inflammation eases. If two people with back pains are given massage therapy, one with deep massage and the other one lighter massage, the one given deep massage will have little pains than the one given lighter massage, few days after the massage.
- Breaking up of Scar Tissues
When a scar tissue builds up, muscles around that area become stiff, causing uneasiness that results in severe pains. With deep massage on the area of focus, the muscles are relaxed and tension is reduced. Blood flow increases and the inflammation goes away. In the end, the scar tissue is broken and chances of another one forming are reduced or eliminated. Breaking up of a scar tissue with the use of deep tissue massage really helps in the healing of injuries in sports personalities.
- Reduces Stress and Alleviates Moodiness
Decreased blood flow due to tension and non-relaxation in some muscles makes them stiff and inflammation builds up, causing severe muscle pains. The ‘bad feeling’ hormone called cortisol is concentrated on these areas. With deep massage, the muscles are relaxed and blood flow is enhanced. The result is the buildup of increased levels of ‘feel good’ hormones serotonin and oxytocin. These hormones are known to be behind the good feeling and are in fact known as the ‘cuddle’ hormones. They help reduce stress and alleviate the positive feelings of love and bonding.
Pregnant women sometimes experience labor and back pains. Most of them result to yoga and acupuncture to help ease anxiety, depression, and back and labor pains. Deep massage has been known to reduce these pains and minimize stress in pregnant women. However, great caution should be observed not to use excessive pressure that would otherwise cause serious problems for the mother or the baby.
The difference in levels of pressure applied on areas of focus differentiates deep tissue massage from Swedish massage. With deep tissue massage, you may feel some pain during and after the therapy. You are therefore advised to obtain a medical history before seeking this therapy because it can be not administered to people with conditions such as diabetes.