Early massage therapy originated in India and used gentle massage strokes for relaxation. Fast-forward to the present day and you’ll find that the most popular massage style in the US is a Swedish massage. This also promotes relaxation and stress relief with similarly soft strokes.
What if you’re looking for a way to treat chronic pain and muscle injuries, though? In this case, you should try a deep tissue massage (DTM). Compared to some other types of massage, DTM involves longer, more pressured strokes for greater pain relief.
But does deep tissue massage hurt? Keep reading this guide to find out more!
What Is Deep Tissue Massage?
Like a more gentle Swedish massage, DTM involves the therapist using their palms and fingers to manipulate your tissues. But they may also use their elbows and forearms to apply increased pressure as and when needed. This enables them to reach the deepest layers of the tissue surrounding the muscles, the fascia.
It’s this deep pressure combined with the long and soothing strokes of a deep tissue massage that makes it so effective at reviving your sore and aching muscles.
Does Deep Tissue Massage Hurt?
Deep tissue massage targets the inner layers of your muscles to treat muscle and tendon injuries, pain, and stiffness in your joints and major muscle groups.
To do this, the therapist must break away the scar tissue found deep inside the muscles. As you might expect, this targeted technique and the focus on applying pressure to release deep-seated tension can cause slight discomfort during the session.
Since everyone has a different massage pressure tolerance, it’s important for you to notify your massage therapist if this discomfort goes beyond your pain threshold. Once your deep tissue massager is aware of your pain threshold, they will be able to adjust their technique accordingly.
The Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage
Now that you know that a deep tissue massage isn’t as painful as it sounds, what are some of the benefits you can look forward to if you try DTM for yourself?
As detailed above, the way that DTM penetrates deeper means that it helps treat chronic pain better than other types of massage. But, like Swedish massage and other techniques, DTM is also a great stress-reliever. This is thanks to the way DTM encourages the release of oxytocin, helps lower blood pressure, and promotes full-body relaxation.
By breaking down scar tissue, DTM also helps increase mobility, allowing for a greater range of motion and less pain and stiffness.
Your Guide to Deep Tissue Massage
As this quick guide shows, there are many benefits involved with getting a deep tissue massage.
And, while the targeted focus and extra pressure used in the DTM technique might sound painful, an experienced deep tissue massager will take great care not to go beyond your pain threshold.
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