New clients ask what technique I use to resolve pain and deep muscle knots, so I want to explain deep tissue massage as I practice it.
For most pain problems, I use a form a deep tissue. (If you are more interested in relaxation, see this blog: http://bit.ly/relax_style ) In a future note I will describe orthopedic massage training with Whitney Lowe, which guides my entire massage thinking.
Deep tissue is a technique designed to reach tissues that are deeper in the skin, so it is better suited for muscle knots and deeper fascia. With deeper pressure, the nervous system receives different information compared to a lighter, relaxation only massage. This information helps the body release the tension, and can bring some new circulation to the area.
I recommend this for clients with chronic stress that is not easily relieved, and for clients with high levels of anxiety.
Compared to other techniques that target only the surface skin, deep tissue is a slower massage stroke. It includes many of swedish movements, but with greater pressure and different 'tools' or parts of my body. Deep tissue is particularly great for pain coming from a trigger point or muscle knot and sports soreness.
Technique # 1: The most common is simply using greater pressure on an broad area at a slower speed. This is useful for broad areas like the shoulders that carry stress.
Technique # 2: A deeper form is to use elbows and knuckles directly on the tight muscles or knots. This deep pressure resolves many knots and gives the nervous system a diferent sensory input, allowing the body freedom to change routine use of that muscle.
Technique #3: The deepest form is to use a tool such as the one in the picture which I use. This form allows very deep and precise pressure. I use this tool very carefully because it is sooo intense. I also use it to lighten the pressure on my thumbs and body.
Of course, I only use these techniques after a full discussion of your body and its needs. And, I don't believe pain is healing, just momentary discomfort. Many clients tell me other massage therapists have hurt them, so I am very careful always.
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