In contrast to more gentle techniques, deep tissue massage focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. The goal of deep tissue massage is to release tension that can arise from the very depths of the muscle.
Deep tissue massage is also very effective at breaking up scar tissue, and is thus an important part of rehabilitating old injuries.
The therapist uses different techniques including slow strokes and concentrated finger pressure on areas of tension - these can either be following or across the grain of the muscle, tendons and fascia.
Although effective, it can often be quite painful, and can provoke soreness that lasts for a day or so. However, the pain from a session should resolve within a day or two, and leave you feeling far better than before the treatment.
So how does it work? When muscles are stressed, either by tough workouts or injuries, they block oxygen and nutrients. This can lead to inflammation and a build up of toxins in the muscle.
By working in the depth of the muscle, the therapist loosens the muscle tissues, releasing the accumulated toxins and allowing blood and oxygen to circulate properly.
Because of the intensity of this technique, and the potential release of accumulated toxins into the body, it's important to drink plenty of water after a session to help eliminate these toxins from the body.
Performed regularly, this can help to reduce the risk of injuries and improve performance.