A lot of clients are confused about the difference between Deep Tissue Massage and a “deep pressure massage.” Deep Tissue Massage is a whole modality that is used to treat musculoskeletal issues such as strains and sports injuries. It involves applying sustained pressure using slower, deep strokes that target your inner layers of muscles and connective tissue.
What Deep Tissue Massage is not, is relaxing with firm pressure or “deep pressure.” A lot of clients are looking for a relaxing massage, but a little deeper pressure in trouble areas and they will say, “Can you do deep tissue?” When an elbow or stiffened thumbs are applied to the areas, they wince and want the therapist to back off. What they were more likely needing was just a firm pressure and maybe a little more focus on the area.
Deep Tissue massage may start off relaxing, but each stroke will get a little more intense as the therapist goes into deeper parts of the muscle tissue. There are moves called cross-fiber friction, knuckling, stripping, Trigger Point therapy, and Myofascial Release to name a few. These moves can become uncomfortable. There might also be some delayed onset muscle soreness the following day or for a few days. This is normal. In the event you do feel sore, ibuprofen or indica can be helpful. Other pain relief can be alternating ice and heat over the muscle areas and gentle stretching. Always drink plenty o water. Hydration is key.
Do not believe in the term, “No pain, no gain.” This is not true for everyone. Pain is also not “weakness leaving the body.” Pain can be indicative of injury or exacerbate an existing problem.
If you are ever uncomfortable with your massage, you can always ask your therapist to switch it up. If a firm pressure is what you need and not a Deep Tissue, your therapist will be more than willing to accommodate you.