Deep Tissue Massage, along with Sports Massage, is the pre-eminent western style of massage for systematically reducing muscular tension, pain and stiffness. It works to re-establish alignment and proper functioning within muscles, and therefore restore balanced relationship between muscle pairs and groups. This ultimately helps to correct postural imbalances, when used in combination with exercise and postural re-education.
As the name implies, Deep Tissue Massage works deeply into the muscles, using precise, slow strokes along the direction of the muscle fibers. Where there is muscular tension, muscle fibers have become adhered to each other, or quite literally glued together, and the deep strokes break down these adhesions allowing the muscle fibers to once again function normally. For when muscles are glued together, they cannot function fully. Often their length and range of motion is reduced, as is their contractile power. They also fatigue quickly.
Some pain is often unavoidable during a Deep Tissue massage, though never beyond what you consider manageable. Click here for a brief overview on pain
It requires a lot of energy to keep a muscle in a contracted state. If you were to clench your fist, and keep it like that for several minutes you would realise that it requires a lot of energy to maintain this. Consider then how much of your musculature is in a permanently contracted state. Many of us are not actually aware of the extent of the muscle tension within our bodies.
Nerve impulses are streamed relentlessly from your brain telling your muscles to contract, long after a need has passed. This is the physical expression of how our minds dominate our bodies, using particularly our musculature to broadcast our beliefs about ourselves through our posture. So ultimately, to permanently reduce muscular tension, we need to give up our mind’s voracious need to control and assert itself.
Whilst we work towards that, Deep Tissue massage, and all massage in general, can support us in this by encouraging the mind to switch into the parasympathetic state, a state of deep relaxation and letting go which allows the muscles to relax. This is why some people will fall asleep during a session. It is an exhausting business, being tense all the time, and an opportunity to rest is much welcomed by the body.
The combination of deep relaxation and the deep strokes into the muscles releases a lot of energy that has been pent up in the form of tension. It is common therefore for people to feel a boost in their energy levels after a massage, as well as sleeping better, and feeling calmer, more focused and clearer – especially so with regular massage.
One of the specialities, or main focuses of Deep Tissue massage, is working with the fascia. Most people consider tension to affect the muscles only, but the fascia is a distinct and separate connective tissue that can also become tight and distorted which has a detrimental affect on the whole body.
Fascia is the ‘wrap’ that surrounds, encloses and contains muscles, organs and everything else within the body. There are various layers of it, but this massage works with the fascia under the skin. This is effectively one continuous sheet that envelopes the entire body, as the skin does, but under it, and like you would see if you were to tug on the corner of a table cloth, a distortion in one part of the fascia can affect and create pain and dysfunction in another distant part of the body.
So the fascia links the whole, and often becomes contracted and damaged in its own right apart from the muscles. Deep Tissue massage focuses on releasing and realigning the fascial sheets, as well as the muscles, and is particularly effective in creating more freedom in the area of the back, shoulders and ribcage. It is very similar if not identical in practice to Myofascial Release.
Sessions are available for between 1 – 2 hours. The cost is £80 an hour.
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