Many people think of massage as a relaxing experience, and it often is. However, massage can also be deeply therapeutic for your body.

Deep tissue massage can treat musculoskeletal issues, including strains, muscle injuries, and more. It can also reduce tension and help prevent future problems.

What is deep tissue massage? How is it different from other types of massage therapy? Here are the things you need to know.

Understanding Deep Tissue Massage

Many people who see a registered massage therapist are curious about different types of treatment.

Two approaches are most popular — Swedish massage and deep tissue massage.

Swedish massage is primarily used to promote relaxation and reduce stress. It’s a gentle type of treatment that uses long strokes with light pressure. A Swedish approach focuses on the surface muscles and focuses on the parts of your body that hold tension, like your shoulders and neck.A deep tissue massage is a different approach.

It uses far more pressure, and the therapist may use their elbows or forearms to work on deeper muscles. This type of treatment will focus on major muscle groups and joints in an effort to treat injuries, pain, and stiffness. 

Does Deep Tissue Massage Hurt?

Because your massage therapist works on deeper, tight muscles, deep tissue massage may be a little uncomfortable. 

This type of treatment is more intense than Swedish massage, but it shouldn’t be overly painful. You can let your therapist know if they need to lighten the pressure during your treatment.

You may have some soreness after the massage as well. Be sure to drink a lot of water afterward to flush lactic acid out of your tissues. That will help your muscles recover and feel better more quickly.

What to Expect During a Deep Tissue Massage

When you seek out registered massage therapy, you might wonder what to expect. A deep tissue massage is generally done without clothes, although you can wear underwear. You’ll lay under a sheet, and the massage therapist will move the sheet so that they can work on your legs, arms, and back while respecting your privacy.

The therapist will start with lighter, long strokes to warm up your muscles. Then they will work on your problem areas in a deeper way. The amount of pressure will vary, and you should always speak up if it’s too uncomfortable or painful.

A deep tissue massage generally lasts 60 - 90 minutes, although some therapists allow you to schedule shorter 30-minute sessions. After the massage, you’ll drink a lot of water to help your body hydrate and remove lactic acid from your muscles.

You may have some soreness for a few days after your therapy. You can use cold or hot pads or over-the-counter medicine to help, but it shouldn’t last long. After any massage, you want to avoid strenuous activity and heavy meals right afterward. Instead, stick to light activities and have a snack if you’re hungry.

Many people wonder how often they can have a deep tissue massage. It’s generally safe and effective to have one every two or three weeks if you want regular treatment.

Who Shouldn’t Have a Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage is safe and effective for most people.

However, people with certain medical conditions should avoid deep pressure massages. For instance, those with a blood clotting disorder, or those on blood thinners, should avoid massage. It also may not be safe for those undergoing cancer treatment. Women who are pregnant should probably avoid deep tissue massage and get the gentler Swedish massage instead. The same goes for those who have osteoporosis or bone issues.

If you have any questions about the suitability of deep tissue massage, be sure to ask your doctor and your massage therapist. They can recommend the most appropriate treatment for your needs.

Deep Tissue Massage Can Help You Relax

While Swedish massage is often thought of as a “relaxing massage,” the truth is that deep tissue massage can make a longer-lasting difference. By getting more deeply into your major muscle groups and working on tendons, knots, and other tissues, you can experience pain relief along with relaxation.

If you struggle with sports injuries, sciatica, fibromyalgia, or other chronic pain, deep tissue massage can bring you relief. This type of therapy also helps relax your muscles and your mind, just like other massage options. 

If you’re looking for deep tissue massage, connect with a registered massage therapist today. You’ll be so glad you did!