hat is a Deep Tissue Massage?
While Swedish massage focuses on the superficial musculature as well as relaxation, deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on addressing issues within the deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. The main goal is to work out the knots and generalized "stiffness".
Some of the same strokes are used as in Swedish massage therapy, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of
tension and pain in order to reach the sub-layer of muscles and the fascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles).
When there is an injury or chronic muscle tension, there are usually adhesions (think of them as anchor lines thrown down by the body) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation. Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. I like to equate adhesions and knots to an old fashioned typewriter. We've all typed too quickly and gotten those jumble of keys at the strike bar. Adhesions and knots are very similar to this. The more we do and the faster we move (and the less we take care of ourselves), the more our muscles are going to bunch up and create a jumble of fibers. We clear the typewriter jumble by pulling each key down to the typebar, and I do the same thing with the muscle fibers. Each muscle is loosened up, and the fibers "fanned out" (much like the pages of a book) in order for the rows of muscle fibers to lay back down the way they were intended to be.
To do this, I use a variety of techniques in order to to get each muscle to become pliable enough to access the deeper levels. Sometimes it might be long gliding strokes, other times it might be a constant hold on one particular spot. On other occasions, it could be direct pressure on or around the tendon or adhesion.
It is not unusual to feel a certain degree of discomfort during deeper work, but you should rarely feel pain. I will ask you a variety of "1-10" questions before and during the session so that we are working synergistically in the session. Usually I will ask "on a scale of 1-10, where is your comfort level?". It is very important to maintain the right comfort level at each portion of the session. It can get to be very technical as to when you should be "at a comfort level 3" and when you should be "at a comfort level 7". Luckily, that's why you have come to me. I know the when's and the how's to eradicate the adhesion. All you need to do is lay there and remember to breathe :)