What does Deep Tissue mean?
Deep Tissue massage is all about using firm pressure to reach the body’s deeper muscles and connective tissues. The pressure starts off gentle, but ramps up during the treatment – yes it can be uncomfortable at times, but the therapist should be checking in with you periodically to ensure the pressure is okay. Often people think “no pain, no gain” but that is not always the case so having open communication with your therapist is key. Deep tissue therapist’s typically use broader surfaces like elbows, forearms or fists to apply pressure and will use different techniques like cross fiber frictioning, trigger point therapy, or active release technique to ensure they are getting into the muscle most effectively.
Most deep tissue treatments focus on reducing tension in the muscle and increasing joint mobility. It does so by creating healthy blood flow to the area which works to flush out the toxins and by-products created with usage. Deep tissue massages are also typically a bit more focused than a relaxation massage. The patient typically presents with a specific concern or muscle that they would like treated.
Does Deep Tissue Massage hurt?
The easy answer is yes. But it doesn’t need to be excruciating. I typically describe it to new patients as something where they will likely feel uncomfortable but good at the same time. You want it to be effective but not over the top painful. And yes, you will be sore the next day. Much of this depends on how often you get treated, what the issue is and how your body responds to it. But I typically tell people you will feel bruised or like you worked out for the first time in a while for about a day. After that, you should be feel great! Drinking water and taking a warm Epsom salts bath can help mitigate that. The more frequent you get treated the less it hurts both during the treatment and in the days following.
Deep tissue massage can be hugely beneficial for many different conditions in the body. From postural stress, plantar fasciitis, sprains, muscle tears and everything in between.
If that doesn’t sound like what you are looking for than maybe Relaxation Massage is more your style.
What is a Relaxation Massage?
Relaxation Massage is beneficial for relieving everyday stress, loosening general tension in the muscles, and giving an overall feeling of well-being. To be considered relaxing, this type of massage is not intended to work a specific injury. It is more of a general treatment by which the therapist uses a softer pressure with his/her hands and fingers using techniques like effleurage and petrissage. Relaxation massage is typically seen in more of a spa type setting versus a clinic.
How do I know what type of massage to get?
I think the important question to ask yourself is, “What is my goal with getting a massage?” If you have a specific injury or area of pain and wanting lasting results then seeking out a deep tissue massage is probably the better option for you. If you are seeking some stress relief from everyday life then a relaxation massage is right up your alley.
I would recommend trying both types of massage and seeing which one you find the most beneficial. Besides, the certain type of massage of you are getting it is also very important to find a good therapist. Working with an RMT is a very personal thing and their needs to be trust and open communication. Try multiple places, try different techniques and see which one vibes with you the best.
Good luck on your search!