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A light superficial massage this is not! As the name suggests, Deep-tissue massage aims to work right in to your knots to release toxin and lactic acid buildup in tired muscles, ligaments and tendons that may feel tense and inflamed. If you suffer from a stiff neck, lower or upper back pain, or tight calves, this massage technique may be the answer, provided you can tolerate the short-term sensation bordering of discomfort (although it should never feel excruciatingly painful).
Studies have shown Deep-tissue massage to be very effective for relieving the symptoms of Fibromyalgia and RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). Many people also report that relieving muscular blockages with a firm massage can release emotional tension. Learn how a regular massage regime can work best as part of a preventative lifestyle approach.
A fully body Deep-tissue massage is typically 50 minutes to 90 minutes long and you can also book a half hour or 40 minute Deep-tissue Back, Neck and Shoulder massage. It involves manipulating the body’s deeper layer of muscles and connective tissues by rubbing a body oil with muscle-relaxant properties deep in to the muscle layers.
As well as their hands and fingertips, the therapist may also use her knuckles, forearms and elbows to stretch and knead in to tougher areas of tissue. The sensation can vary from relaxing to bearably uncomfortable – be prepared to feel a bit tender for the next day or two afterwards.
If you can have this massage regularly – up to 2-4 times a month, it can make a real long term difference to muscular tension and problems of restricted movement.
A variant of Deep-tissue is the classic Sports massage. A Sports massage therapist often has specialised training in a variety of techniques including Deep-tissue massage, Shiatsu, muscle stretching, Triggerpoint (intense static pressure applied to massage points, a technique designed to trigger the body in to healing itself) and Swedish massage, all aimed at preventing and treating you guessed it – sports injuries and improving athletic performance – by removing lactic acid build-up while improving muscle tone and flexibility.
Another variation of this is the Lava Shell massage, using warmed lava shells to massage the back and neck.
…if you prefer soothing light massage pressure. This massage does not aim to relax you, but rather to unravel muscular tension deep down. Not recommended after an injury or surgery.
There are certain handy tips and tricks you can use to decrease the sensation of pain. Useful to know during a Deep-tissue massage or a wax! Take a look at our TIPS And Breeeathe section to find out more.
Arrive early and use your spa’s sauna and hydrotherapy areas to further relax the muscles. Loosening them up in this way will improve the circulation and allow the muscles to relax so the therapist can get even deeper in to your knots to break up the build up of lactic acids and muscular tension. Always tell your therapist if the pressure gets too much.
Know of a friend or loved one who might benefit from a Deep-tissue massage? Check out our spa vouchers page where monetary gift vouchers can be redeemed against treatments at over 500 spas across the UK.