One of the alternative treatment options for a variety of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is deep tissue massage. Many patients choose this complementary therapy to reduce the symptoms of their medical conditions.
What Is Deep Tissue Massage?
Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy. It works on the deeper layers of muscles and fascia (the connective tissue around the muscles). The masseur uses deep finger pressure coupled with slow yet firm motions to alleviate the MSD symptoms.
Who Can Deep Tissue Massage Help?
Deep tissue massage is often beneficial for patients with such conditions as:
- Low back, upper back, and neck pain
- Strain injury (carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Muscle tension
- Tennis elbow
- And more
Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage
Most patients with MSDs can experience numerous benefits of deep tissue massage.
- Pain relief
The main benefit of deep tissue massage for patients with MSDs is pain relief. It’s beneficial for both acute and chronic pain. Some researchers believe that this massage is even more effective for chronic pain than conventional medical treatments. Deep tissue massage improves blood flow and reduces the inflammation, which causes pain. In addition, this massage can reduce muscle tension, which often comes with chronic pain.
- Lower heart rate and blood pressure
Deep tissue massage can reduce stress and tension, which in turn improves blood pressure. The massage can boost the body’s serotonin production, which is responsible for promoting a good mood.
- Rehabilitating Injured Muscles
Injured muscles may take years to rehabilitate with common treatment. Deep tissue massage therapy can speed up the process by facilitating the removal of toxins from the muscles. Additionally, deep tissue massage stretches the tight muscles and promotes healing. By relaxing the muscles, deep tissue massage alleviates the pain caused by injuries. That’s why it’s often used during rehabilitation from sports injuries.
What to Expect During a Deep Tissue Massage
Many patients are concerned about the pain associated with some massages. Deep tissue massage may cause some discomfort and slight pain. However, the massage technique can be adjusted to reduce the discomfort. You should always tell the therapist about the pain caused by the manipulations. Pain is not always a symptom of the deep tissue massage therapy working. It may make it harder for the therapist to do the job since it causes the body to tense.
Unlike a regular massage therapist, a deep tissue specialist may use elbows, forearms, and knuckles to do the massage. After the massage, you may feel stiffness and some soreness, which should disappear within a couple of days.
Deep Tissue Massage Side Effects
Some patients report slight bruising after the deep tissue massage. More serious but rare side effects include:
- Venous thromboembolism
- Spinal accessory neuropathy
- Hepatic hematoma
- Posterior interosseous syndrome
Contraindications for such massage are:
- Blood clots
- Recent surgery or any other medical procedure (with caution)
- Bruising or inflamed skin
- Abdominal hernia
- Recent fractures
Deep tissue massage can become one of the most beneficial complementary therapies for people with MSDs. Please consult your doctor before trying this treatment.