A deep tissue massage (also known as a sports massage) provides for a wealth of benefits for the average sportsman or woman. However, if you’ve arrived here, you may be fearing the worst and presuming that deep tissue massages are very painful (there are certainly enough misleading articles online).
How do deep tissue massages work?
Deep tissue massages hone in on the deeper layers of muscles; this form of massage is often used for considerable aches, pains and stiffness. Areas commonly worked during a deep tissue massage include the lower back, leg muscles, neck and upper neck and shoulders.
During a deep tissue massage, the fibres in the muscle are broken down, after which they re-heal to become stronger, in the process pain can be relieved and normal movement may be restored.
Deep tissue massages – pain, discomfort or pleasure?
Given that deep layers of muscle are worked on during this massage, you should expect discomfort and some level of pain. How uncomfortable a deep tissue massage may be will depend upon your pain threshold. Generally, most clients report this feeling to be like an intense pressure.
You’re likely now wondering just why anyone, in their right mind, would choose a sports massage (and the discomfort that comes with it) over and above a blissful Swedish massage?! This is a question that sports massage newbies often ask – and the answer, lies in the many benefits it provides.
The benefits of a deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massages can treat a staggering array of ailments, including: Lower back pain, limited mobility, recovery from injuries (eg whiplash, falls, sports injury), sciatica, piriformis syndrome, osteoarthritis pain, fibromyalgia, repetitive strain injury, tennis elbow, postural problems and muscle tension.
As a final thought, you should remember that you’re advised to tell your massage therapist should your deep tissue massage be too painful. Any professional will adapt to your feedback and change their massage accordingly.
Are deep tissue massages suitable for anyone?
Deep tissue massages aren’t suitable for everyone – this includes:
• Sufferers of thrombophlebitis or deep vein thrombosis
• Those who’ve had recent surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or any other medical procedure
• Those who currently have bruises, rashes, sores, wounds, tumours or recent fractures
• Pregnant women should speak with their doctor beforehand
Will there be pain after a deep tissue massage?
Yes, there may be some discomfort, however this typically subsides following 24 hours. Ice can assist with any after-massage pain. A further step you can take is to drink plenty of water – this can ensure toxins are more effectively flushed from your muscles. Lastly, whilst you should avoid significant activity, you should stretch out your muscles as your body recovers from the treatment.