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Deep Tissue Massage 101: All the Basics You Need to Know

Deep tissue massage is a type of therapeutic treatment that is used to work deep layers of muscles and connective tissue below the surface to release tension, knots, and tightness in both muscles and in the fascia. It can be applied just about anywhere on the body, but it's most commonly known for working out "knots" in specific areas that are common problem spots for many people just like you.

Deep Tissue Massage 101: All the Basics You Need to Know

What's so good about deep tissue massage? 

For one thing, it offers up a unique kind of relief when compared to other types of massage. It offers an increased range of motion after the session has ended because its ability to improve blood flow allows for better circulation throughout your entire body. Because it works at a much deeper level than most other types of massage, it also works to reduce scar tissue and adhesions that can cause pain in muscles. Deep tissue massages help to break up the scar tissue so that your body can use its natural healing powers on them instead.  


How does it work? 

A deep tissue massage uses a variety of techniques from multiple modalities. It's usually done with pressure from fingers, elbows, knees, or feet, but sometimes they'll even use tools like lacrosse balls to apply pressure directly into specific muscle pockets that need attention. All those pretty little hands at the spa don't know what they're doing!


There are times when a deep tissue massage may not be recommended for you – specifically if there is acute inflammation, phlebitis, cancer of the lymphatic system, lymphedema, thrombosis, or if you are currently experiencing the symptoms of an acute attack of gout. It's also not recommended for pregnant women with high-risk pregnancies and people who have open wounds on their bodies. If you're unsure about whether deep tissue massage is right for your specific condition, it's always best to consult your doctor before any kind of treatment option so that you can be sure you're making a safe choice.


What conditions is it good for? 

Deep tissue massage works well with various injuries and health conditions including: tendinitis and bursitis, repetitive stress injury (RSI), whiplash and chronic neck and shoulder pain, back pain (including back spasms), plantar fasciitis, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis of the knee, fibromyalgia and more.


Are there any side effects? 

Like with many things in life, deep tissue massage has its pros and cons. Some of the most common side effects include temporary soreness or stiffness post-treatment. If you're feeling any of these symptoms after your deep tissue massage session, it's important to let your therapist know so that they can adjust their techniques accordingly for next time. They may also be signs that you need to take some extra precautions like hydration during the days following your session , using ice on particularly sensitive areas if needed , avoid strenuous activity and getting plenty of rest . It's also advised that you avoid deep tissue massage if you're suffering from an acute attack of gout.


So, the next time that nagging pain or injury has got you down, remember to ask your doctor about it. Deep tissue massages aren't meant for everyone, but they could be exactly what you need to get back on track towards a healthy lifestyle!



Deep tissue massage centers on realigning the deeper layers of connective and muscle tissue. It aims to release the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the tense areas, either following or going across the fiber’s of the muscles, tendons and fascia. It is particularly helpful for continually tight and contracted areas such as stiff necks, low back tightness, and sore shoulders.


Deep tissue massage is much more than just a  “hard massage.” In contrast to only relaxing muscles, the specific lengthening of fascia, muscles and tendons offers many benefits such as increased joint movement, quicker injury recovery, better posture, as well as feelings of well-being.


Deep tissue massage is often used to treat:

  • Chronic Pain

  • Limited Mobility

  • Recovery from Injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls, and sports injury)

  • Repetitive Strain Injury (carpal tunnel syndrome)

  • Postural Problems

  • Osteoarthritis Pain

  • Muscle Tension or Spasm



Deep tissue has been found to improve muscle function and range of motion, break up scar tissue and adhesions, and decrease pain. It is thought that when muscles are tensed, they block oxygen and nutrients, leading to inflammation that builds up toxins in the muscle tissue.  A deep tissue massage may help loosen muscle tissues, release toxins from muscles and get blood and oxygen circulating properly. Because many toxins are released, it is recommended to drink plenty of water after a deep tissue session to help eliminate these toxins from the body.


Goals of Deep Tissue Massage:

  • Reduce pain.

  • Improve posture.

  • Increase flexibility and perception of looseness.

  • Improve fluidity of movement.

  • Restore metabolic status of tissue

Massage therapist - The Sanctuary Pleasant Hill LLC 609 Gregory Ln Suite #220 Pleasant Hil

By Danstone360 - Own work, CC BY 3.0,

Are You Searching for a Massage Therapist You Can Trust?

The Sanctuary Pleasant Hill LLC features a full range of services that are done using touch-based therapy. Our skilled therapists use their hands to manipulate the soft tissues of your body in order to relieve pain, improve health conditions, and promote wellness through holistic treatments like massage therapy! Located in the beautiful Contra Costa area, The Sanctuary is a Holistic Healing Center that specializes in exceptional treatments. Our aim is to nurture and relax each of our guests with individualized and innovative therapeutic techniques. We provide a quiet restful space to help you escape from stress and invigorate your spirit. The choice of how to move forward on your journey is a personal decision, honored without judgment. Start your journey with us today, click here to schedule your appointment!

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