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What is Deep Tissue Massage? Benefits, Uses and Recommendations

Massages are techniques for manipulating the superficial and deep muscle layers. From this, multiple methods have been created with great results. Among these, deep tissue massage is becoming more and more popular.

Their goal is to impact and relax the deepest surface of the muscle and fascia.

So, what are the benefits of this type of massage? When is it recommended? What are its contraindications?

Today, we want to answer all of these questions. Learn to release muscle tension in this article!

Benefits and Uses of Deep Tissue Massage

There are several benefits and uses of deep tissue massages. As stated in a study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, its mainly a tool for relaxation, relieving muscle disorders, and anxiety reduction. Are there other effects? We’ll tell you more below.

1. Pain relief

Deep tissue massage help eliminate knots in muscles and connective tissue. This helps relieve pain, at least temporarily. Specialists recommend it to help with joint discomfort and all kinds of chronic muscle pain.

2. Relaxation and well-being

Good muscle health leads to a state of maximum relaxation. In that sense, deep tissue massages are beneficial, since they stimulate the release of neurotransmitters that promote well-being.

In particular, it helps increase the release of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Therefore, it can be used as a way to fight stress and anxiety.

3. Sports performance

Muscles’ range of motion in exercises will improve without built-up tension. As a result, your chances of losing calories and toning go up.

A study published in North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy suggests that massages help prepare athletes for competition because it helps improve their performance. Also, it helps with recovery after exercising and reduces the risk of injury.

4. Sleep quality

Rest is the basis for high performance the next day, no matter what activity you’re doing. In this regard, deep tissue massages can serve as a complement to promote deep and restorative sleep. This is because it reduces pain and inflammation in specific areas. In addition, it increases the secretion of serotonin.

5. Injury relief

According to a publication in the Journal of Athletic Training, massages can reduce inflammation, as well as reduce the pain of muscle injuries. Specifically, deep tissue massages help treat the following injuries:

  • Tennis elbow
  • Muscle contractions
  • Lumbago
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain

How deep tissue massages are done

First, before you can do a deep tissue massage, you have to identify the precise area where the problem is. Then, the professional will ask the person to lie on their stomach or their back, depending on the area they’re treating.

It all starts with warming up the muscles with light touches. After that, start slowly kneading (with thumbs, knuckles, elbows, and forearms) and intense pressure- with some variability- to reach the desired depth.

Normally, these massages last between 60 and 90 minutes, which will depend on the amount of tension and the location. Finally, it’s important to note that this type of massage uses a lot of pressure, even more pressure than a Swedish massage. However, the sensation has a lot to do with how sensitive the patient is.

Does it hurt?

Deep tissue massages performed with the perfect technique shouldn’t hurt. However, obviously, some people might not like the feeling of getting some knots out.

The truth is that you might be sore the next day. However, it isn’t a problem, and your muscles should start feeling better almost immediately.

Contraindications and recommendations

As for contraindications, people with blood clots or who are prone to them shouldn’t get deep tissue massages. Also, those who suffer from osteoporosis need to consult a doctor first to determine the viability of a massage with these characteristics.

In addition, it’s a good idea to avoid deep tissue massages on areas with the following conditions:

  • Bruising
  • Infections
  • Rashes
  • Tumors
  • Abdominal hernias

Recommendations on deep tissue massage

For deep tissue massages to provide the benefits we mentioned, it’s a good idea to follow these tips:

  • Stay hydrated. Before getting a massage, you need to drink enough water. That way, the muscle tissue is ready to be treated and responds in the best way.
  • Keep getting massages. Establishing a massage session every 2 weeks will keep your muscles in optimal condition and prevent knots from appearing.
  • Save some relaxation time. After the deep tissue massage, it’s best to wait 12 hours before training again. This way, you can get the benefits without damaging interruptions or relapses.

Final thoughts on deep tissue massage

Pregnant women shouldn’t get these massages, but a specialist doctor could suggest some adaptations, depending on the case. In turn, people who have gotten recent surgeries or chemotherapy processes need the approval of trained professionals.

If the massage is painful during and after, make sure to remember the pain you’re feeling so you can re-adapt or suspend getting the massages, if necessary.

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