Deep Tissue Massage
Deep Tissue massage is somewhat similar to a Swedish Massage in that it uses some of the same techniques. When receiving a deep tissue massage, you usually disrobe to your under garments or nothing at all (all according to your comfort level) and lay under the sheet. We use grapeseed or coconut oil (or feel free to bring your own) to lubricate each part of your body that is being worked on. Your therapist will only remove the sheet from the area of the body that is being massaged. Every other area will be covered. A deep tissue is usually "full body" meaning the back, legs, feet, arms and neck. Abdominal and scalp massage are usually performed upon request. Of course, if you prefer to avoid any areas, do not hesitate to tell your therapist.
The main difference between a Swedish and Deep Tissue massage is the goal. While Swedish aims to increase circulation, Deep Tissue aims to break up adhesions. Due to inactivity, over-use or incorrect use, muscle fibers sometimes become criss-crossed or adhered. This usually feels like a painful knot in the muscle that needs kneading. A deep tissue massage uses techniques like compression, effleurage and petrissage along with more advanced techniques like friction, distraction and muscle stripping to re-organize the muscle. Once knots are released, it's not uncommon to feel a rush of endorphins (happy hormones) or some sort of emotional response (it's ok to laugh or cry).
Deep tissue massage also includes myofascial trigger point therapy. Trigger points are taut bands of muscle that refer pain to other areas of the body. For example, trigger points in your neck and shoulders can cause pain in your head. Fascia is connective tissue that wraps around structures in the body, including muscle. When fascia becomes restricted and trigger points are present, it leads to pain, limited mobility, muscle tension and a bad mood. Deep tissue massage specifically addresses these issues with the use of ischemic compression (e.g. the elbow) and passive or active myofascial release.
Some of the conditions that are helped by Deep Tissue massage include (but are not limited to):
Lower Back Pain
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you would like to find out more about what Massage Therapy can do for you, check out www.amtamassage.org
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