Myths About Deep Tissue Massages

Many people think that deep tissue massage is supposed to be painful in order to be beneficial. As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain” does not always apply to massage. In fact, many people fall into a deeper state of relaxation when they receive a deep tissue massage.


So what is a deep tissue massage? Deep tissue massage involves the manipulation of the deep layers of muscles and soft tissues of the body. It requires the massage therapist to melt into the tissue before reaching these deep layers by warming the superficial layers of muscles above. It is not always possible to reach the deep layers of muscle and soft tissue in the first session. Depending on each particular situation, it may be necessary to modify the session so that the client is comfortable and does not resist the work, unconsciously or not.


Our muscles have a natural reflex reaction to resist pain. When a muscle thinks it is about to be injured, this reflex is triggered. When too much pressure is applied, for example during a massage, the muscle or muscle group naturally resists the force by tightening even more. This is the opposite effect of a massage. An effective massage relaxes and releases areas of tension.


Most people will naturally try to avoid painful situations. For example, few people look forward to going to the dentist because many people associate pain with the dentist. Receiving a massage should not be one of those cases. Everyone has a different level of comfort and pain tolerance. Everyone can perceive pain at a different level depending on their pain tolerance. When the body feels pain, it reacts with tension. During a deep tissue massage, discomfort is normal and will be felt especially if there are inconsistencies in the tissues. Discomfort is described as “good pain”, that which hurts and feels good at the same time, in a strange way. On the other hand, pain can be described as a discomfort that is not well tolerated by the body.


There are many techniques or modalities that can fall into the category of deep tissue work. Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) and myofascial release are just two of the advanced deep tissue work techniques. NMT aims to create a balance between the central nervous system (composed of the brain, spine and nerves) and the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints of the body through specific methods. Myofascial release involves stretching and lengthening the connective tissue called fascia that surrounds every part of our internal structure, including bones, muscles and organs. Tight fascia can cause pain and restrict joint mobility.


There are times when deep pressure is needed and can be painful, such as when scar tissue is involved. Scar tissue or adhesions, as they are sometimes called, are thick areas of bound connective tissue that are created during the healing process of an injury or form of surgery. Working with scar tissue requires deep pressure to break the dense nature of this tissue. However, massage therapists must always work within the client’s comfort level and pain tolerance. If a person cannot tolerate high pressure, it may be necessary to perform several additional treatments to achieve the same results as a person with a higher pain threshold. Results will only occur at a slower rate.


Not everyone needs or should receive a deep tissue massage. Some people simply enjoy the sensation of deeper pressure on their muscles, while others prefer a softer touch. A person who has never experienced a massage before may not want to request a deep tissue massage. It is the responsibility of the massage therapist to determine if a deep tissue massage is appropriate and necessary, through a thorough assessment and review of the medical history. A massage is only effective when the person on the table is comfortable and relaxed.


Bonita Skin Care and Massage specializes in a wide variety of relaxing massages for people in Melbourne. Boasting years of experience, they ensure our clients are fully satisfied with their services and feel relaxed and fresh when they leave the premises.

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