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If you’re ready to get your muscles unknotted, a deep tissue massage might be just what you need. Forget light and gentle motions, this massage is highly-effective, but is not designed for comfort and relaxation. In this guide, we explain the basics of the deep tissue massage and look at who can benefit from this robust spa treatment.

What is a deep tissue massage?

As the name suggests a deep tissue massage treatment aims to work right into your knots, releasing toxins and lactic acid build-up in tired muscles, ligaments and tendons that may feel tense and inflamed. 

What can you expect from a deep tissue massage treatment?

A fully-body deep tissue massage typically lasts between 50 to 90 minutes. You can also book a 30 or 40-minute deep tissue back, neck and shoulders massage.

The technique involves manipulating the body’s deeper layers of muscles and connective tissues by rubbing a body oil with muscle-relaxant properties deep into the muscle layers. As well as their hands and fingertips, the therapist may use their knuckles, forearms and elbows to stretch and knead tougher areas of tissue.

A variant of deep tissue massages 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 to heal itself) and Swedish massage, all aimed at preventing and treating, sports injuries and improving athletic performance. These techniques work to remove 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.

Does a deep tissue massage hurt?

Unlike some other massage treatments, a deep tissue massage is not designed to be a relaxing experience. You are likely to feel some discomfort during the treatment (and may feel tender for a few days after), but the massage should not be painful and you must communicate any pain you experience to your therapist.

During all types of massage, your therapist should check with you that the pressure is acceptable. It is even more important with this type of massage, as, to be effective, substantial pressure needs to be applied, but we all have different pain thresholds. Never be afraid to speak up if you are in serious discomfort or, alternatively, if the pressure is too light.

What are the potential benefits of a deep tissue massage?

Deep tissue massage treatments can provide a number of physical and mental health benefits. If you suffer from a stiff neck, lower or upper back pain, or tight calves, then this massage technique may be the answer. Studies have also 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. The technique, if repeated on a regular basis, can make a real long-term difference to muscular tension and problems of restricted movement. 

Who can benefit from a deep tissue massage? 

Deep tissue massages can provide a number of health benefits, but can be especially beneficial for:

  • people with bad postural habits
  • those with who have been under-using muscles
  • those who have been over-using muscles
  • those with a high pain threshold
  • those experiencing RSI, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis pain

Who should avoid a deep tissue massage?

Whilst a deep tissue massage can provide numerous benefits and help to relieve tension, the technique is not suitable for everyone. You should avoid deep tissue massages if you:

  • prefer soothing light massage pressure
  • are pregnant
  • are injured or are recovering from an injury
  • have recently had surgery

Spas for deep-tissue massages

The Lifehouse Spa & Hotel in Essex is among the select spas that offer this specialist treatment. The Crowne Plaza Reading also offers a choice of packages which include the option of a deep-tissue massage, including the Total Time Out for Men package and the Relax and Revive Spa Day.

Top tip:

Arrive early and use the 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 into your knots to break up the build-up of lactic acid and muscular tension.

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.

If you’re ready to book a deep-tissue massage at one of our spas, give our team a call today to discuss your options.

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