What Is Deep Tissue Massage?

Feeling tense, but not sure which massage to pick? Worried that a deep tissue massage is going to be too painful you? Got some aches and niggles; however, you like your massages to be relaxing? Zing Wellness Co-founder and massage therapist, James Rake, explains what makes it a deep-tissue massage, what to expect from your therapist and session, and why you most definitely need to book one!

When I retrained as a massage therapist, I wanted to specialise in deep tissue massage because I knew how impactful this style of massage could be first hand. My wife and business partner, Angela, had suffered from chronic pain most of her life due to a congenital hip disorder. And before having both hips replaced, her only relief was Pilates and deep tissue massage.   At first, I started to learn massage techniques to be able to give Angela some relief at home, but it quickly felt like a calling that I needed to answer, and I gave up my job in the City of London to retrain and started with an introductory course with the London School of Sports Massage and then an intensive course with Premer Global.

I probably get asked more questions about deep tissue massage than any of our other therapies. Here are the most frequently asked questions to help you decide if it’s the right  therapy for you:

What Is Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage is a massage that focuses on releasing chronic muscle tension and improving stiffness through a deeper pressure than usually experienced in a standard Swedish massage. Standard massages tend to focus on relaxation, whereas deep tissue massages focus
on relief.

Is Deep Tissue Massage The Same As Sports Massage?

The simple answer is that there isn’t much difference between deep tissue and sports
massage. They both use the same strokes, and both aim to relieve tension in your muscles.  Where they do differ is why you would choose one or the other.

Sports massage is geared towards the athlete, and it is used to improve their performance, tackling sports-related injuries and most importantly preventing sports injuries.  Sometimes a sports massage isn’t particularly deep either as gentle superficial massage can work well in specific situations.

Deep tissue massage  is for anyone and is most often used to aid recovery from an injury or to help improve posture and or release chronic aches, pains and knots.

Again, many clients work with their therapists to help prevent many of these issues reoccurring through deep tissue massage.

What Are The Benefits Of Deep Tissue Massage?

For me, there are three key benefits to this style of therapy:
1. Reduces chronic pain
2. Increases joint mobility
3. Relieves stress

Most people who come to see me for a deep tissue massage are usually in some kind of pain which is impacting their wellbeing and/or preventing them from going about their daily life. 

Deep tissue massage  is incredibly successful at reducing tension in the body which has often built up over time due too much screen time, poor posture at work, stress and anxiety.

The deep tissue massage technique is to get to all of the muscle layers and release the built-up tension.

Most clients come away from their treatment feeling relaxed, de-stressed and often tell me they feel like they’ve got a new body entirely!

Does Deep Tissue Massage Hurt Or Cause Pain?

Unfortunately, many people think that there is ‘no pain, no gain’. When it comes to deep tissue massage. Personally, I don’t agree and if a therapist is appropriately communicating with their client it shouldn’t be too painful.

Inflicting pain on a client by trying to force the muscle tension out of the body is not usually going to work. Most people tense up when they are in pain, which is the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.  Getting to the deeper layers of the muscles takes skill and a bit of patience. Of course, there will be tender spots which may be uncomfortable but just let your therapist know if it is too much for you. I pride myself on working closely with my clients to never go beyond their individual pain threshold so that the massage is powerful yet relaxing. 


How Often Should You Have A Deep Tissue Massage?

This does depend on your issues and needs. At Zing Wellness, we want to help our clients to solve their pain or discomfort, and then implement a self-care plan that hopefully stops the pain, niggle or knot from returning. We have found that a combination of deep tissue massage and Pilates is the most effective way of achieving long-term relief which is why our
business focuses on Pilates and massage! 

Typically my clients come to see me for a couple of sessions close together – perhaps weekly for two to four sessions – and then once any chronic pain has been alleviated, they will come back once a month. These monthly maintenance massages encourages the body to self-repair the connective tissues for long-term, sustainable pain relief and improved mobility.

Couple regular massages with regular Pilates classes and you will enjoy better posture, enhanced strength, move movement and generally less tension and pain.