What Are The Five Deep Tissue Massage Techniques?

Therapeutic Massage

Deep tissue massage is one of the popular massage techniques, mainly used to treat issues related to strains and injuries. It includes applying continuous pressure using gradual, deep strokes to focus on the deep layers of muscles and connective tissues. In addition to this, a therapist can do deep tissue massage techniques in various approaches. These multiple techniques make the treatment unique and perfect for athletes. Keep reading to learn more about deep tissue massage, including tips on finding a qualified therapist for this treatment.

What is Deep Tissue Massage?

deep tissue massage techniques

Deep tissue massage is a therapeutic massage that treats musculoskeletal issues, such as muscle strains and sports injuries. The technique used in this massage helps to break up scar tissue structures after an injury and lessen the tension in muscle and tissue. In addition, deep tissue massage therapy likewise promotes quick healing by improving blood flow and reducing inflammation.

Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage offers both physical and psychological advantages. Unlike Swedish massage and other techniques that focus on relaxation, deep tissue therapy helps to improve stiffness and treat muscle pain. However, it can still help you unwind mentally, as well.

Furthermore, deep tissue massage is also suitable for some health conditions, such as:

  • chronic back pain
  • fibromyalgia
  • sciatica
  • plantar fasciitis
  • sports injuries
  • high blood pressure
  • tennis elbow

What To Expect

Before the deep tissue massage session, tell your massage therapist about your problem areas. Your therapist may perform the treatment in just one place or your whole body.

After that, your massage therapist will ask you to lie under a sheet on your back or stomach. You may remove your clothing, but the level of undressing will depend on your comfort. Nevertheless, the area being worked on will require to be uncovered.

The massage therapist will apply a lighter touch to warm up your muscles. Once they are warmed up, they will begin massaging your problem spots. They will employ deep rubbing and stroking with differing measures of intense pressure.

Techniques Used in Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage helps treat various conditions, such as back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, etc. In any case, here are the foremost effective techniques used in this therapy:

Myofascial Release

This technique includes slow strokes pointed toward impacting the body’s fascial layer. This layer of connective tissues lies between your skin layer and your muscles. It associates and weaves throughout the muscular framework, such as your ligaments and tendons. In fact, it is the glue that connects all of your body’s cells together.

Myofascial release utilizes slow and maintained pressure to open up your fascia. This method will lessen your pain and sensations of restrictions. Also, it can reestablish the lost scope of movement. Unlike Swedish massage, this technique in deep tissue applies only a smaller amount of lubricant or no lubricant. The therapist can move very gradually, stretching the tissues apart.

Trigger Point Therapy

The most specific technique in deep tissue massage is Trigger Point Therapy. This technique uses just the thumb or fingertip area to apply pressure. Those tender spaces in your soft tissue trigger points that cause referred pain to other body parts. In fact, these areas are known as knots though there are no actual knots in the muscles. Instead, these points are profoundly contracted spaces, producing highly unpleasant sensations.

In this deep tissue massage technique, the therapist will press and hold the points for a sustained time. This can frequently increase the referred pain for a brief period. Then, the knots lose at that point, and the pain disappears. Appropriately tending to trigger points can reduce limitation and pain.

Cross-Fiber Friction

This technique involves rubbing muscles perpendicular to the course of the muscle fibers. Problems like breaks, strains, sprains, tears, and other forms of damage can influence muscles fibers, ligaments, and tendons. In fact, scar tissue develops once something like this occurs. Unlike normal tissue, scar tissue has collagen fibers that are not correctly aligned and arranged. Cross-fiber friction aims to make this jumble of collagen fibers somewhat less cluttered.  Additionally, it improves blood circulation and reduces muscle spasms.

Furthermore, massage therapists use cross-fiber friction in deep tissue techniques to target the spinal erector muscles running right along your vertebrae. These muscles are generally narrow, rigid groups, so cross-fiber functions admirably due to the limited perpendicular distance.

Active Release Technique

The active release technique (ART) combines assessment and treatment. It intends to distinguish and quickly work out soft tissue problems that cause pain and restricted versatility. In any case, therapists can treat those unusual tissues using coordinated pressure while patients actively move the affected region.

Muscle Energy Technique (MET)

This is a form of muscle stretching used by osteopaths, sports massage specialists, physical therapists, and wellness professionals. In fact, the muscle energy technique is beneficial in stretching postural muscles, which are inclined to shorten. In this method, the patient effectively takes part in the treatment session by opposing the movement performed by the specialist.

Side Effects of Deep Tissue Massage Technique

Soreness after deep tissue massage is usual to happen. In fact, this side effect may linger for a few days. In this case, you may use a cold pack wrapped in a cloth or a heating pad to help ease the soreness.

Massage therapy is a typically safe procedure. However, deep tissue massage applies very firm and deep pressure that may not use to some people.

Getting therapeutic massage

Hence, if you have the following condition be sure to talk to your doctor before getting the treatment.

  • Having a bleeding disorder
  • Having a clotting disorder or a history of blood clots
  • Taking blood thinners
  • Having cancer or are undergoing cancer treatment, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy

In addition, people with bone health issues such as osteoporosis should stay away from the deep tissue massage technique as the pressure used may cause damage to the bone. Furthermore, you should also hold off on deep tissue massages if pregnant. Instead, choose gentler types of massage, such as Swedish massage. Lastly, remember that you will need to reschedule your deep tissue massage appointment if you have an open wound or any kind of skin infection. This is necessary to avoid making a new infection or worsening the present condition.

How To  Find a Therapist?

If you get a deep tissue massage, it would be best to make sure you work with a qualified massage therapist. Additionally, for you to find a trained massage therapist, you can:

  • use the America Massage Therapy Association’s database
  • ask your family or friends for a recommendation
  • ask your doctor or physical therapist for a referral
  • Search the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork’s directory

In addition, as you look for potential therapists, remember a couple of things:

Area of Focus

Not all massage therapists can perform deep tissue massage techniques. Some therapists can work a few types, while others focus on one or two practices. Hence, ensure to inquire whether they offer deep tissue massage and what conditions they have encountered treating.


Also, know your therapist’s credentials and ensure that they are licensed to practice massage therapy in your area.


Get some information about the expense per session and if they offer cost-saving incentives, like a sliding-scale option. Also, you may need to check with your insurance agency, as some plans include massage treatment, particularly for certain conditions.

Consider Getting Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is most appropriate for individuals who have an injury or chronic pain or participate in exceptionally proactive activities, such as running.

Suppose you are looking for relief of tense muscles or have a low pain threshold. Then, in that case,  Swedish massage is a better option for gentler treatment. Talk with your doctor before getting a deep tissue massage, especially if you have an underlying health condition.


What Is a Swedish Massage?


Introduction to Active Release Technique.


Bone health: Tips to keep your bones healthy.


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