The majority of deep tissue massage techniques are from the Greek and Egyptian civilisations but were massively improved in the 1940’s when Therese Pfrimmer, a Canadian physiotherapist starting using deep tissue techniques on herself after suffering paralysis in her legs. Eventually she amazingly reversed her paralysis with the help of months of massage and thereafter provided deep tissue massage to others suffering with paralysis, developing the first deep tissue massage clinic.
Deep tissue massage is a treatment than can be used in a variety of situations, but primarily deep pressure is sustained for longer periods than in other types of massage aimed at reaching those deeper muscles once you have worked on the superficial ones.
Initially a lighter pressure is sustained to reduce tension in the superficial muscles then throughout the treatment pressure will become deeper, working on the chronic tension that is apparent in the deeper muscles. For deeper pressure the fists, forearms, knuckles and elbows can be used as well as the palms and fingers to break down adhesions which stopping the range of motion in the muscles in the particular area.
I have found as a therapist that using the knuckles and elbows to break down adhesions is more effective as the pain deriving from the tense areas will decrease quicker than using the fingers and thumbs. In the same way using my fists or forearms for effleurage instead of my palms has reduced tension a lot quicker meaning more areas can be worked on in one treatment instead of spending too much time on one area.
Deep tissue massage is used on a variety of individuals, but is particularly useful for those suffering from chronic pain and those with a whole range of medical conditions such as chronic migraines, arthritis and depression. This type of treatment is also used by athletes as part of their training regime to stop injuries from occurring, reduce muscular tension and to relax them after training sessions. More importantly, athletes will also use deep tissue massage if they have an injury such as frozen shoulder, tennis elbow and ligament sprains. Those with work related injuries such as RSI (repetitive strain injury), postural problems and stress will also benefit from deep tissue massage as well as post operative patients to reduce scar tissue.
Although deep tissue massage is suitable for helping treat a variety of medical conditions it is always wise to check with your GP beforehand in case there are any contraindications to having this type of treatment. Typical cases when not to have deep tissue massage are when you are heavily pregnant, directly after an injury, when you have a skin condition or contagious infection.
Plenty of water should be drank on the day of a massage to help remove the toxins from the body and to re-hydrate the muscles as they will have become dehydrated during treatment and it is sometimes advisable to warm the muscles before a treatment to help the healing process.