Do I need a Deep Tissue Massage?

Do I Need a Deep Tissue Massage?

If you are suffering from aches and pains, a stiff neck, tension in the upper back, painful shoulder tension or lower back pain you may be thinking about getting a deep tissue massage, and if you are new to receiving massage, the thought of having a deep tissue massage may seem daunting.

You might have heard stories about how painful they are or that they need to be painful to be able to get results. No pain, no gain right? Well, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Deep tissue massages don’t need to be painful, in fact, some people fall into a deep state of relaxation when receiving deep tissue massages. This is because along with reducing physical tension, deep tissue massage also stimulates the release of “happy hormones” like serotonin and oxytocin.

Yes, there can be a degree of discomfort; however, many clients describe the sensation as a “good pain” or that they could feel the massage working on the specific muscles that were giving them trouble. Think about it like yoga class – the teacher will lead you to your “maximum stretch” threshold and no further; no pain should be experienced. In the case of deep tissue, the therapist will lead you to your “maximum pressure” threshold.

When a client is feeling pain, their automatic reaction to that stimulus is to tense up. The subconscious mind anticipates the pain and the muscles contract; therefore, stopping the therapist from reaching the deeper tissues. This is not conducive to restoring relaxed and supple muscles.

A good massage therapist will use oils to warm up the muscles in areas of tension, and will then use slow and gentle movements to access the deeper layers of tissue. The firm, but constant pressure allows the muscles to lengthen and release without giving them a nasty shock.

Everyone is different, and the amount of pressure each person is comfortable with varies greatly. If a person is extremely sensitive, then it may take more treatments to reach the deeper layers as less pressure can be applied during the treatment. Your therapist should discuss this with you before the massage, and should check in with you during the massage to ensure you are comfortable.

An intuitive massage therapist can gauge how much pressure is too much by reading subtle signs in their client’s body language; however, it is important to know that therapists appreciate feedback! A client who grits their teeth through a massage and endures a traumatic and painful experience is much less likely to experience the full benefit of what deep tissue has to offer than a client who communicates when they want the therapist to hold off a little and who comes out their treatment feeling rejuvenated and well looked after.

There is a saying that many massage therapists will use when discussing treatment plans with their clients, it’s called “fix in six”. It is rare that all muscular complaints can be rectified in one treatment. Many clients arrive with years and years of stress and accumulated tension locked deep in their muscles, and their connective tissue has bound itself tightly together causing loss of circulation, pins and needles, chronic pain, headaches and muscular spasms.

These hardened layers and knots need to be stripped away layer by layer and a good deep tissue massage therapist will explain the need for multiple treatments. Firstly, it isn’t always possible to reach the deeper layers of tissue if there has been chronic muscular tension. It may take multiple treatments just to release the surface layers, slowly working further down each time, breaking up scar tissue and fascia.

Secondly, it is highly beneficial for the client to become familiar with the massage and to work with the deep tissue massage therapist over the course of the treatments. The more used to the movements they become, the more likely they are to be able to mentally relax. When a client “let’s go” in their mind, very often their muscles follow suit.

Remember, deep tissue isn’t suitable for muscular injuries such as tears, ligament damage or inflammation. It is advised that clients discuss with their doctor whether a qualified sports and remedial massage therapist or physiotherapist may be better suited to their rehabilitation from injury.

Hopefully, you are more comfortable with the idea of deep tissue massage now and you can feel confident that you are choosing the right treatment for you. Finding a good therapist can be difficult so it’s helpful to find one who has good reviews, a professional website and who is happy to discuss and support you throughout your massage journey.

If you are suffering from chronic aches and pains, lower back pain, high blood pressure, tense back, neck and shoulders, anxiety, stress or tight muscles in the arms and legs then deep tissue could be the perfect solution for you.

Elaine Wilson is a fully qualified and insured massage therapist with years of experience. She holds a 5-star rating on Facebook and has been noted for her approachable and patient nature.

Book your deep tissue massage in Glasgow with Elaine Wilson Therapies now


Written by Elaine Wilson - Massage and Fertility Treatments in Strathbungo and Queens Park, South Side, Glasgow and Kilmarnock Scotland.

Elaine Wilson