Deep Tissue Massage
A type of massage therapy, deep tissue massage involves applying firm pressure and slow strokes to reach deeper layers of muscle and fascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles). It's used for chronic aches and pain and contracted areas such as a stiff neck and upper back, low back pain, leg muscle tightness, and sore shoulders.
Deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific problem, such as chronic muscle pain, injury rehabilitation, and the following conditions:
- Low back pain
- Limited mobility
- Recovery from injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls)
- Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Postural problems
- Muscle tension in the hamstrings, glutes, IT band, legs, quadriceps, rhomboids, upper back
- Osteoarthritis pain
- Piriformis syndrome
- Tennis elbow
- Upper back or neck pain
Not all of these benefits have been scientifically proven, but according to Consumer Reports magazine, 34,000 people ranked deep tissue massage more effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescription medications, chiropractic, acupuncture, diet, glucosamine, and over-the-counter drugs.
Deep tissue massage also received a top ranking for fibromyalgia pain. People often notice an improved range of motion immediately after a deep tissue massage.
If you are interested in a massage to prevent sports injury, address sport-specific concerns, or to help with muscle recovery after sports, consider getting our sports massage.
What to Expect
While some of the strokes may feel the same as those used in Swedish massage therapy, deep tissue massage isn't a stronger version of a Swedish massage.
Deep tissue massage techniques are used to break up scar tissue and physically break down muscle "knots" or adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) that can disrupt circulation and cause pain, limited range of motion, and inflammation.
At the beginning of a deep tissue massage, lighter pressure is generally applied to warm up and prepare the muscles. Specific techniques are then applied. Common techniques include:
- Stripping: Deep, gliding pressure along the length of the muscle fibers using the elbow, forearm, knuckles, and thumbs.
- Friction:Pressure applied across the grain of a muscle to release adhesions and realign tissue fibers.
Massage therapists may use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during a deep tissue massage. You may be asked to breathe deeply as the massage therapist works on tense areas.
After the massage, you may feel some stiffness or soreness, but it should subside within a day or so. Be sure to contact your massage therapist if you have concerns or if you feel pain after having a massage.
Drinking water after the massage may help to flush the metabolic waste from the tissues.
Do Deep Tissue Massages Hurt?
At certain times during the massage, you may feel some discomfort or even some pain as the massage therapist works on areas where there are adhesions or scar tissue. Pain isn't necessarily good, and it's not a sign that the massage will be effective. In fact, your body may tense up in response to pain, making it harder for the therapist to reach deeper muscles.
You should always tell your massage therapist if you feel pain during the massage. The therapist can adjust the technique or further prep the tissues if the superficial muscles are tense.
Side Effects and Precautions
Deep tissue massage may not be safe for people with blood clots (e.g. thrombophlebitis or deep vein thrombosis), due to the risk that they may become dislodged. If you have blood clots or are at risk of forming blood clots, it's essential that you consult your doctor first.
If you have blood clots or are at risk of forming blood clots, it's essential that you consult your doctor before getting a deep tissue massage.
If you've had recent surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or have another medical condition, it's wise to check with your doctor before starting massage therapy. Some people with osteoporosis should avoid the deeper pressure of this type of massage.Massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed or infected skin, skin rashes, unhealed or open wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, fragile bones, or areas of recent fractures. Massage may cause bruising and rarely, hematoma (a localized collection of blood outside of blood cells), venous thromboembolism, and a condition known as spinal accessory neuropathy.
1 Hour Treatment: $119
1.5 Hour Treatment: $149
Ahhh... the soothing sounds of gentle music as you blissfully lie beneath a soft sheet, cocooned in relaxing smells and dim light. You find your nerves unbundling and your troubles slipping away as seasoned hands massage your back and shoulders.
If you've ever been to a spa to enjoy the relaxing benefits of a Swedish massage, you're familiar with this pattern. If you haven't, or feel that a massage might not really benefit you,think again.
In particular, Swedish massage incorporates several specific techniques that combine to give you a relaxing and beneficial experience.They include:
- Long, sweeping strokes over a muscle that help to break up trigger points
- Kneading the muscle to work deeper into the affected area
- Rhythmically tapping an area with cupped hands to facilitate relaxation
- Friction or rubbing a muscle group rapidly with the palms to stimulate warmth
- Vibration or using the fingertips to quickly shake a muscle back and forth to loosen the area
Swedish massage is a great introductory massage for many reasons, the first being that it involves firm, yet gentle strokes. Swedish massage is designed specifically to enhance circulation and blood flow to the large muscle groups.
The popularity of massage as a therapeutic or holistic health tool, beyond just a relaxing splurge, has been on the rise. Fans of Swedish massage swear by its overall health benefits and in fact, several studies have looked at the technique's benefits for issues other than just stiffness or muscle aches and pains.
Over the past few decades, a variety of studies have linked Swedish massage to a number of benefits, such as:
What to Expect at Your Massage
The typical Swedish massage experience begins with the client lying on their stomach with their clothes removed and privacy draping over them to maintain privacy. If you're uncomfortable removing all of your clothes, you can choose to keep some items on, such as a bra or underwear.
Be sure to tell your therapist if there are areas you'd like them to focus on or to avoid. In addition, give your therapist feedback on their pressure so that you remain relaxed and comfortable at all times.
Benefits of Massage Therapy
Swedish massage therapy can be helpful with a number of other physical challenges, such as reduction in scar tissue by physically manipulating the fibers of the tissue, allowing the scar tissue to be successfully reabsorbed into the skin. Additionally, it can aid with lymphatic drainage, where the long strokes of the therapist help move fluids successfully out of clogged areas.Interestingly, many patients and therapists swear by massage as a way to reduce constipation or digestive upset, since the increased circulatory benefits and relaxation of the abdominal and lower back muscles can help relieve symptoms. In fact, a 2014 study from the British journal Nursing Standard highlights a number of the ways abdominal massage encouraging muscle contraction, nudging the gut to move things along.
1 Hour Treatment: $99
1.5 Hour Treatment: $129
Reflexology is a form of bodywork that involves applying pressure to the hands and feet to produce changes in pain and other benefits elsewhere in the body.
How Does Reflexology Work?
The underlying theory behind reflexology is that there are certain points or "reflex areas" on the feet and hands that are connected energetically to specific organs and body parts through energy channels in the body. By applying pressure to reflex areas, a reflexologist is said to remove energy blockages and promote health in the related body area.
Here are some examples of reflex areas and their corresponding body parts:
The tips of the toes reflect the head
The heart and chest are around the ball of the foot
The liver, pancreas, and kidney are in the arch of the foot
Low back and intestines are towards the heel
Although the roots of reflexology go back to ancient Egypt and China, William H. Fitzgerald, an ear, nose, and throat doctor, introduced this concept of "zone therapy" in 1915. American physiotherapist Eunice Ingram further developed the zone theory in the 1930's into what is known as modern reflexology.According to reflexologists, pressure on the reflex points also helps to balance the nervous system and stimulates the release of endorphins that help to reduce pain and stress.
1 Hour Treatment: $99
30 Minute ADD ON to any massage: $39
Sports massage focuses on optimizing muscle, tendon, ligament and joint health in order to prevent sport injuries or promote healing after an injury has occurred. It is commonly used before or after sporting events, or during training. Sports massage therapists are well trained in various massage therapy techniques including stretching techniques, which can be incorporated into a therapy session. Be sure to ask your therapist what massage techniques they are trained in.
PNF or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching results in increased flexibility and is considered one of the most effective methods to increase range of motion, according to the website Sports Fitness Advisor. Using this technique, the sports massage therapist gently stretches your muscle or muscle group to its end point for approximately 10 seconds. You then contract that muscle against resistance by pushing against the therapist’s hand. This position is held for six seconds. Once relaxed, the therapist then passively stretches the muscle again, positioning it further than the original range of motion allowed. This type of therapy is ideally suited for large muscle groups such as your hamstrings, quadriceps and adductors, which are all muscles found in your inner thighs.
Don't Antigonize the Antagonist
AIS or active isolated stretching is one of the most common methods for increasing range of motion used in sports therapy. During a session, your therapist will gently push your muscles just beyond their normal range of motion and hold this stretched position for only two seconds. This brief stretch allows the targeted muscle to lengthen without triggering the stretch reflex that contracts the antagonist muscle, or the muscle that opposes the targeted muscle. This gentle stretch is repeated several times for each targeted muscle. AIS protocol involves more than 170 different stretches that target all the muscle groups in the body, including those that are hard to palpate, such as the psoas. Your practitioner will choose which are appropriate for you according to your symptoms and evaluation.
Release Me and Let Me Go
Myofascial release therapy is designed to stretch the fascia, the fibrous tissue that surrounds your muscles, bones and organs in one continuous sheath of connective tissue. The therapist breaks up restrictions in the fascia that have developed due to injury or the development of scar tissue by applying direct force to the tissue and slowly stretching it. The amount of pressure is slowly increased until the practitioner has reached the deep tissue layers. This type of therapy is mean to loosen the fascia, which that extends through your entire body.
Relax and Release
1 Hour Treatment: $89
30 Minute ADD ON to Any Massage: $49
Trigger Point Add On for Any Massage
A trigger point is a tight area within muscle tissue that causes pain in other parts of the body. A trigger point in the back, for example, may produce referral pain in the neck. The neck, now acting as a satellite trigger point, may then cause pain in the head.
Trigger point massage focuses on releasing trigger points, which are small, tight knots that develop in muscles that may even cause pain in other areas of the body (an effect known as “referral pain”). Trigger point massage incorporates other therapeutic massage techniques from acupressure or myofascial release therapy, among others, depending on the therapist’s background.
Add On to Any Massage: $29