Definition of a Deep Tissue Massage


The Blomeyer Health Fitness Center at Emory University defines deep tissue massage as a set of massage techniques used to penetrate the surface muscles of the body to reach deep connective tissues. Deep tissue massage has several health benefits for athletes and non-athletes alike. Discuss this type of massage with your health care provider to determine its suitability for your body.


Deep tissue massage involves slow strokes with deep pressure. The massage therapist applies pressure in the opposite direction of muscles that cause pains and aches, according to Vista College. This type of massage benefits people who experience muscle tension, chronic inflammation, muscle pain and physical stress.


Deep tissue massage offers several mental and physical benefits. This massage style relieves stress and promotes relaxation. Deep tissue massage also relieves pain and muscle stiffness associated with athletic injuries, arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, carpal tunnel syndrome and whiplash.


In addition to the muscular effects of deep tissue massage, this type of massage also reduces blood pressure. In a study published in the March 2008 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, lead investigator Dr. Alan Kaye studied the effects of deep tissue massage on blood pressure. During the study, participants received massages that lasted 45 to 60 minutes each. The researchers played soothing CDs in the background during each massage. The results of this study showed that systolic blood pressure decreased by an average of 10.4 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure decreased by an average of 5.3 mm Hg.


Choosing a competent massage therapist plays a major role in how well deep tissue massage improves your condition. In some states, massage therapists do not need licenses, so ask each prospective therapist about his training. Select a massage therapist who attended an accredited school with a good massage therapy program. Bloomington Massage Therapy recommends selecting a therapist who completed at least 500 hours of training. Ask each therapist questions about his experience, massage style and preferences. If you select a massage therapist who does not give you a good massage, do not hesitate to find a different therapist.


Some people should not receive deep tissue massage services. Anyone who has had recent surgery should avoid this type of therapy unless a physician has recommended it. Those with open wounds and skin infections should also avoid deep tissue massage. This prevents wounds from getting worse and reduces the risk of spreading infection. If you were in a motor vehicle accident or involved in any type of physical trauma, ask your doctor if deep tissue massage would hurt you or benefit you.