The Deep Tissue Issue

The Deep Tissue Issue

Invariably, over 90% of all clients ask us for deep tissue massage.  In other words, they want to feel like they received some benefit from the massage and not like someone just slathered oil on them.  We get it! It feels good to be “kneaded”.  But is it appropriate for every situation?  What exactly is deep tissue and who should receive it?

Deep tissue is not a specific “technique”, but a culmination of several techniques that is done at a slow, steady pace.  It consists of cross-fiber friction, Trigger Point, Myofascial Release and other types of restorative massage techniques.  Deep tissue is not for the faint of heart.  It is for the aggressively goal-oriented client who is looking for the greatest effect on circulation, function and mobility.  The client must have a strong, healthy ability to withstand the effects of deep tissue.

Deep tissue may actually produce tissue tearing and create a localized inflammatory reaction.  If you are presenting with any injury or pain and inflammation, deep tissue may not be the best thing for you at that moment.  The amount of pressure exerted for the duration of the massage can only be determined by doing a thorough intake prior to the massage session to determine if the body can withstand such intensity.  Normally, one should feel a bit sore after a deep tissue massage for only a day or two.  After that, if you experience intense soreness or even pain, deep tissue may have inhibited the healing process.  In order for deep tissue to be rendered, a few things need to be considered;

1. When was your last massage?  If you haven’t had a massage in a while and you come in with an accumulation of stress and tension, deep tissue is not going to fix months of abuse to your body in one session.

2. Did you recently injure yourself?  New injuries take time to heal and should be approached cautiously and more gently.  The area of injury is usually not the only area affected.  Other muscle groups can be affected due to splinting or protection of the injured area.  Inflammation can be tenuous and more pressure is not always better.  Less pain gives you the most gain in this situation.  The lymphatic system and kidneys can only handle so much waste elimination.

3. How severe is your pain?  If there is nerve involvement, such as a pinched nerve, deep tissue can actually exacerbate the condition, rather than calm it down.

4. Have you been ill recently?  If you are just getting over the flu, a cold or recent trauma, you would do better to have a more cleansing and relaxing massage to assist in recovery before traumatizing the tissue with such intensity as that of deep tissue work.

Ultimately, when you think it would be a good idea to get a deep tissue massage to get the kinks out, ask a professional massage therapist who will assess the situation and determine the best approach to get you on the road to feeling better.  Your job is to relax and we will handle the rest!  Call Therapeutic Kneads if you have questions about the right approach for your stress and pain at 847-266-0131.


Sandy Saldano, Lic. Massage Therapist

Owner of Therapeutic Kneads, Ltd.

847-266- 0131