Deep tissue massage
What is Deep Tissue Massage? Deep Tissue Massage is the use of longer slower strokes along the length of the muscle or muscle group(s) being worked upon, though we are more thinking in terms of fascia than individual muscles. The focus is on reducing the tension in the fascia from the superficial to deep layers depending on where the restrictions lie. Tom Myers sums it it well here where he's talking about fascial release, which is what Deep Tissue Massage is all about;
"Fascial Release is a technique, a way of getting malleable but tough tissue – the sinews that hold us together – to relent long enough for the movement pattern to change. There are lots of people using such techniques, and other techniques that can be incorporated into the fascial release domain. It’s this simple: some massage techniques done deeper, slower, and with an awareness of the ‘wave’ in the fascia become Fascial Release Technique – by definition, but not necessarily in origin. ‘There is nothing new under the sun of manipulation’, said Ida Rolf, and I still find this true 30 years and many brand names after her death."
Whilst there is a similarity in the techniques used in classic massage deep tissue massage differs in several ways but most noticeably in the depth of stroke and the use of elbows, forearms and knuckles to deliver them.
Deep Tissue Massage has many uses. It is most commonly used where there is chronic fascial tension which can create adhesions within the muscles. These adhesions and the overall increase in tension in the fascia can result in a reduction in the efficiency of the circulation though the muscle along with a drop in the level of flexibility. This adds up over time to inflammation in the muscle and tendons. Deep Tissue Massage works by reducing the tension in the fascia and breaking down the adhesions between the muscle groups. This increases the circulation and decreases the tension in the muscles leading to a reduction in the inflammation and an increase in the flexibility.
An important point to remember for those involved in sporting activities is the way in which deep tissue massage affects your movement. Since the intention of the treatment is to restore the proper balance to the joints and musculature the treatment should not scheduled too close to an event if you are trying out the treatment for the first time. If you are familiar with the treatment this is less of a consideration but one that still needs to be taken into account.
As with all treatments at Edinburgh DTM we look to assess your whole body to see where the problem areas may lie, often not where you might at first think. As such our treatment sessions begin with an assessment of your body, ideally in under wear or athletic shorts, to help identify the areas of restiction. The treatment plan is based around this and the information you give in the intial consultation. Generally a series of sessions are often recomended though this is not always necessary depending on the severity of the problem and how long it has been present. The longer the problem has been present or more severe it is the more work that is likely to be required.