Blog What is deep tissue massage
What is deep tissue massage

What Is Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage is a specific type of physical therapy that involves a combination of slow strokes and firm pressure to reach deeper muscle layers as well as the connective tissue around the muscles. These tissues are called fascia. Those with chronic aches and pains like neck stiffness, back pain, sore shoulders, and leg muscle tightness can often benefit from deep tissue massage. 

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is a therapy through which deeper muscle layers are realigned. It works on painful or contracted areas of the body. Individuals who have recently suffered muscle strains can also experience a quicker recovery due to this type of massage. 

Specialists call those aching body areas “trouble spots." The strokes applied by the massage therapist are usually slow yet deliberately targeted and precise. Through these movements, they release muscle tension while also reaching deep under the skin, tendons, and other tissues. 

How to Do a Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is less rhythmic compared to other massage types, but many people still consider it a form of therapeutic relief that helps alleviate or eliminate chronic pain and tension. Many patients with back sprains and other injuries have tried this massage. 

Some of the strokes applied in this type of therapy are pretty similar to the ones used for Swedish massages. During the massage, the therapist breaks down rigid tissue and muscle “knots." These issues can lead to pain, inflammation, poor circulation, and a faulty range of motion. 

At first, the masseur will start the process with lighter pressure that is meant to prepare your muscles by warming them up. Then, he applies more specific techniques like the ones listed below:

  • Stripping: This is a gliding type of deep pressure that goes up and down the muscle’s length. The therapist uses his or her knuckles, elbow, thumbs, or forearm to perform these movements to reach your muscle’s fibers; 
  • Friction: It happens when the therapist applies pressure across the muscle’s grain to either realign tissue fibers or release adhesions. 

Deep tissue massage specialists normally use their knuckles, elbows, forearms, hands, and fingertips to perform a high-quality and effective massage. Many times, they ask patients to breathe deeply while they’re working on tense body areas. 

Right after the procedure, some people could experience mild soreness or stiffness in their bodies, but those things go away on their own after a day or two. You should drink a lot of water after this type of massage because it supports your organism to eliminate metabolic waste. 

When and Why Should You Consider a Deep Tissue Massage?

There are many different situations in which you should think about getting a deep tissue massage regularly:

  • When you want to get rid of the pain: Stressed muscles and overworked connective tissues can create painful sensations, but these problems can be at least alleviated, if not eliminated, through deep tissue massage sessions. This therapeutic method also helps with chronic joint pain by lowering body inflammation and boosting blood flow;
  • To lower stress: Many massage therapists say that the proper type of massage could decrease your stress hormone levels while also increasing good neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins;
  • To achieve a higher range of motion: After a deep tissue massage, your muscles are more relaxed and more flexible which means that you will be able to perform better during your workouts; your organism will become more efficient at burning fat and building muscle mass;
  • If you need to improve your sleep quality: Not only will you feel good after a massage, but you will also feel more rested and sleep better because you will stop dealing with muscle pain and your serotonin levels will be up;
  • When you want to improve your overall health: Deep tissue massage benefits your fascia and muscles, but it also lowers blood pressure and improves the function of your lungs. 

Additional Tips

If you want to enjoy all the advantages a deep tissue massage provides, you need to follow these important guidelines:

  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water before and after a deep tissue massage (well, you should always drink a lot of water) because it keeps the tissues healthy and more flexible;
  • Wait a while before working out – don’t work out immediately after the massage; instead, you should wait a minimum of 12 hours before engaging in your regular exercising routine;
  • Use additional muscle recovery tools and devices to optimize the massage’s effects – hot and cold tubs, compression sleeves, infrared sauna, and other devices such as Theragun percussive therapy massage tools; all these things will optimize your deep tissue massage’s benefits; you will feel incredible and will experience a better workout performance; 
  • For optimal results, you should get a deep tissue massage once every two weeks – one session should last between 75 and 90 minutes so that your muscles remain loose and pain-free. 

Deep Tissue Massage Devices

If you cannot go to one of your deep tissue massage appointments, it is ideal to own a specialized device that can help you lower your muscle tension right away at home. Before opting for a certain electrical device, you should know what the best options are and what they provide in terms of effectiveness and features. 

Deep tissue massages are great and highly beneficial on their own. However, they take a lot of time, and many of the providers charge pretty steep prices. One single session lasts more than one hour, so you must invest quite a lot of time and money in these massage appointments. 

A personal-owned device that works amazingly is a massage gun. These tools provide you with the same perks as classic deep tissue massage procedures but for far more affordable costs and in a shorter period of time. 

Before purchasing any of these massage guns, you should make sure to choose a high-quality and effective product, one that comes with plenty of useful features and a high level of versatility, a device that’s easy to use and has a short learning curve. 

One Special Deep Tissue Device

Handheld massage guns such as the one marketed by Theragun will do the trick if you opt for an at-home quick and effective solution, one that will relax your muscles and increase blood flow. These types of massage tools are made with premium materials, and they are a convenient and easily accessible alternative. 

Their technology focuses on the characteristics of percussive therapy, not percussion therapy, which is meant to alleviate muscle tension and improve your body’s blood circulation. Simply put, massage guns work pretty much the same as a classic deep tissue massage in terms of purposes and results. 

These handheld products will help you boost performance and mobility. You will experience muscle tension release and a quicker recovery. The ideal choice is to buy one of these items from a company that sells clinically-tested massage gadgets. 

A massage gun increases lymphatic flow, alleviates stiffness, relieves spasms, activates your nervous system, and improves lactic acid clearance. It seems to be more efficient than a foam roller when it comes to myofascial release. Many chiropractors, world-renown trainers, and physical therapists trust and use this product. It can be used in combination with other treatments for many types of injuries and conditions: carpal tunnel, bursitis, tight shoulders, tennis elbow, shin splints, and more. 

The Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage

Below, you will find some of the most important benefits that a deep tissue massage can offer:

  • Alleviates chronic back pain;
  • Lowers high blood pressure;
  • Decreases anxiety, stress, and muscle tension;
  • Speeds up muscle damage recovery and improves your athletic performance;
  • Breaks up scar tissue;
  • Might help during pregnancy and lower labor pain;
  • Reduces symptoms related to arthritis;
  • Lowers both neck and shoulder pain;
  • Increases the mobility of your joints;
  • Your body will become more flexible;
  • You will sleep better and wake up more rested;
  • Boosts oxytocin levels, which will make you feel happier. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Deep Tissue Massage

People want to know many useful things related to the deep tissue massage technique that can help them decide whether or not to try it and the types of devices they should purchase. 

What Do Deep Tissue Massages Do?

This therapeutic massage helps with chronic soft tissue pain by realigning connective tissue, which is called fascia and releasing tension from your muscles’ deeper layers. It can solve a wide range of problems, from sore shoulders and stiff neck to leg injuries and lower back pain. 

How Does Percussive Therapy Work?

Percussive therapy is a massage therapy technique through which blood flow is increased and induced to soft muscle tissues to reach deeper layers of muscle. It also works great for ligaments and tendons. This method relaxes thickened fascia and improves both your lymphatic system and blood circulation. 

What Are the Causes of Muscle Knots?

Several things can lead to muscle knots and tension. If one of your muscles gets injured or overworked, it tightens up and feels painful and contracted. Some of the most common reasons are: 

  • Post-workout soreness;
  • Body inflammation and infections;
  • Arthritis;
  • Overuse injuries;
  • Fibromyalgia;
  • Anxiety disorders;
  • Strains and sprains;
  • Poor diets;
  • Bites and stings;
  • Poor sleep quality; 


Deep tissue massages are much more complex than traditional massages. They represent so much more than a massage where the therapist applies deep pressure. This procedure comes with specific techniques and targets certain health issues. Even though you might feel your muscles a tad tense after the session, a good therapist should know what to do to avoid body sore.