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What does "Deep Tissue" mean?

Updated: May 28, 2019

Shoulder and Scapular mobilization

What does "Deep Tissue Massage" mean? In short -many things! A variety of styles and techniques (often referred to as "modalities") exist promoting work with the deeper tissues in the body. I have studied Neuromusular Therapy, MyoFascial Release, and Swedish massage, all of which use varying pressures and angles to treat tension in the muscles or connective tissue.

I sometimes hear concerns from new clients that deep tissue might be "painful" or "unpleasant." My philosophy around deep tissue massage is it doesn't need to be painful to be effective. That being said, occasional discomfort -referred to as "therapeutic pain"-can occur when working with particularly sensitive trigger points or deep-held patterns.

I use a slow and steady increase in pressure just up to the client's edge of tolerance and check in to see how the person is handling the work. Although I have many tools at my disposal to interpret how the pressure feels, only the person on the table has access to his or her own nerves, and how it feels to them is the most important feedback. I feel strongly about empowering my clients to speak up and let me know if adjustments need to be made.

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