Deep tissue massage uses direct, deep pressure to relieve pain and restore normal movement in stiff muscles, ligaments and tendons. It is especially helpful for those suffering from osteoarthritis, acute injury, chronic pain, limited mobility, repetitive stress injuries and fibromyalgia. Deep tissue massage usually focuses on a specific musculoskeletal problem.
Though deep tissue massage utilizes strokes similar to those of general massage, they are usually performed more slowly and with greater force to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. Deep tissue massage aims to breakdown adhesions in the tissue, thereby restoring healthy blood circulation. A deep tissue massage can cause temporary soreness, both during the treatment itself and up to a day or two later. However, at no time should there be acute pain. If there is, the patient should alert the therapist immediately. Ice can be used to soothe sore muscles, switching to moist heat after 24 hours if needed.
Though massage is considered a safe treatment modality, some groups of people should avoid it. These include anyone with bleeding disorders or low platelet counts and those taking blood thinners. In addition, massage should be avoided over areas of the body with blood clots, open or healing wounds, and fractures, or in people with weakened bones.