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The Massage Encyclopedia: Deep Tissue Massage

Updated: Feb 21

Deep tissue massage is a technique that has been around for a very long time. Most people happen to think that originated in ancient Egypt. However, its first application was recorded to have happened in 19th-century Canada by therapists looking to cure conditions such as whiplash. In the United States, it was first used in the late 1800s and has, ever since, been adopted widely across the globe.

In layman's terms, “deep tissue massage” is a unique massage treatment, used for addressing chronic pains and body aches. The aim of this treatment is to target the regions of stiffness and stress by exerting focused pressure on the sub-layer of muscles and fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds your muscles.

Most of us know a regular massage to be a soothing experience, that may sometimes be accompanied by calming background score and a pleasant aroma (thanks to essential oils and diffusers). While a deep tissue massage in Christchurch may have such characteristics, it’s not exactly always soothing.

A deep tissue massage helps to relieve joint limitations, knots, and adhesions in muscle and fascia. If you have high pain tolerance, getting a deep tissue massage in Christchurch can be a fantastic choice.

Learn what to expect from a deep tissue massage, as well as its advantages and how it differs from the popular Swedish massage.

Deep tissue massage benefits

Deep tissue massage is beneficial to the body because it helps to release tight or wounded tissues. Deep tissue massage speeds up healing and relieves pain by providing the right amount of pressure.

According to studies, the following are the advantages of a deep tissue massage:

  • Improved range of motion.

  • Lowering of blood pressure and heart rate.

  • Reduce any perception of pain.

  • Alleviating inflammation owing to plantar fasciitis.

  • Chronic and low back pain relief.

  • Alleviating pain linked with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

What happens when you get a deep tissue massage?

There is no standard result from a deep tissue massage and all therapists have distinct methods that can be adjusted to the client's particular demands.

Most therapists usually begin with the back since it is the most often complained-about area. then they move to the legs, shoulders, arms, and finally, the neck and head, which is the most calming because of the many nerve endings in the scalp.

However, some therapists might prefer to begin their deep tissue massage in Christchurch mildly, working over the larger mass of the body before shifting to the individual muscles or areas. People’s tolerance toward pain vary, and deep tissue massage can be quite uncomfortable or even excruciating at times—depending on the muscle response and your pain tolerance. That's why we suggest that clients should know how to control the pressure. If you can't keep your breath and feel your body stiffen too much and unable to handle the pressure, then be sure to speak out and let your therapist know that it's too much.

While some pain is expected, it’s not necessary. The therapy will not be helpful in breaking up muscular knots if the massage treatment is more on the milder side. However, if the pressure is too much then the benefits too will stop mattering.

It's typical, though, to have some stiffness or soreness following a deep tissue massage that lasts a few days. Although deep muscle stripping and myofascial release (MFR) might induce bruising or achiness, Montia states that joint stretches done during a deep tissue treatment should not cause discomfort in the days thereafter.

The duration of a deep tissue massage session varies, but it usually lasts between 60 and 120 minutes. According to most therapists, 90 minutes of deep tissue massage therapy is enough to treat the major issues while also relaxing the rest of the body.

Who Could Benefit from This Type of Massage?

A deep tissue massage is meant to address joint pain and muscle soreness for a lot of people, especially the ones with any sports injury or experiencing long-term pain, etc.

The following is the list of medical conditions that may find relief from a Deep tissue massage (of course, with your doctor’s recommendation).

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Upper back pain

  • Sciatica

  • Tennis elbow

  • Neck pain

What re the massage techniques included in a Deep Tissue massage?

During the first part of a deep tissue massage, light pressure is used to warm up and prepare the muscles. Later, your therapist will increase the depth and pressure, and perform certain massage techniques, customised according to your needs. They are as follows:

Cross Fiber-Friction

This technique doesn't involve the use of any massage oil or lotions, as friction is necessary for the treatment. You might feel a little pain at first when your therapist applies this kind of pressure to a muscle, but this is done to alleviate stiffness and heal tissue fibres. This pain will go away eventually.

Active release treatment (ART)

This involves getting your body assessed before actual treatment. A therapist will use their hands to assess a customer’s muscles, joints, ligaments, and nerves and figure out how to treat them.

Muscle Energy Technique (ET)

Sports massage therapists use this technique for the purpose of stretching muscles. It helps the muscles which are prone to shortening, relaxes cramping and strengthens muscles.

Trigger Point Therapy

This technique is used to relieve pain by applying a few isolated pressure and release techniques. The client actively participates in this approach through deep breathing.

Therapists, in general, use their fingers, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms to assist them throughout the massage. You may be asked to take a few deep breaths to help you relax and reduce tension.

Swedish massage vs. deep tissue massage

According to experts, Swedish and deep tissue massage treatments overlap on certain aspects, but the most important distinction between the two are:

  • the depth of pressure and

  • the perceived intensity.

Swedish massage focuses on improving blood circulation in the muscles and fascia. Deep tissue massage treatments are meant to fix the muscular knots and deep fascia. If you have tightness or pain from a strained muscle or an old injury, a deep tissue massage treatment will work a thousand times better to heal these issues. It relieves overall stress brought on by improper posture, post-workout fatigue or stressful job duties.


The primary purpose of deep tissue massage in Christchurch is to relieve pain and stiffness (stress) in certain spots on the body, while also releasing muscle knots and adhesions in those muscles and fascia.

We recommend that only those who can tolerate some amount of pain and discomfort should have a deep tissue massage. The best way to understand this is by trying out a few sessions. However, if you find the pressure is causing too much pain then you have the liberty to ask your therapist to “slow it down” or decrease the pressure applied.

Interested in trying out a couple of deep tissue massages? Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We’re happy to help.

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