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Deep Tissue Doesn't Mean Deep Presure

Amanda Bell, LMP MA60048615 Sep 17, 2016


There is a common misconception out there that "deep tissue" is the same as "deep pressure." And while you can have a heavy pressured, deep tissue massage, the two are not synonymous.

Let me explain. In the world of massage, we've all shared the terms "swedish," "deep tissue," and "treatment." Those terms are a degree of focus during a massage.

A "Swedish" or "relaxation" massage is, in general, a very broadly focused session. Almost everything is addressed and no one area is heavily focused on. Swedish massage is regularly referred to as a "light pressured" massage. But that isn't always the case. You can receive the same swedish massage with a heavy pressure.

As we look at a "deep tissue" Massage, we are changing our level of focus. Instead of a generalized full body experience, your therapist may spend some focused time on specific muscle groups that are causing you grief. Muscle adhesions in your glutes (butt muscles) are leading to referred pain in your legs and/or lower back. So your therapist will spend some focused time on your gluteus muscles to decrease the adhesions and increase circulation in the area affected.

When a therapist is working on specific muscles and tendinous structures, the session's focus is treatment. Motor vehicle accidents, for example, affect specific muscles and so, detailed focus on those areas is needed to help the body stimulate circulation and lymphatic flow in those areas to facilitate a faster recovery. Your therapist may spend the majority, if not all of your session time in one or two areas.

Any of the above modalities can be implemented in a wide range of pressure depending on what you are comfortable with. Pressure is relative. A "deep" pressure for you, may feel like a "light" pressure to someone else. Don't be afraid to communicate with your therapist about your preferred level of pressure, even during the session. Also, most massages are a blend of different modalities. Therapists will often mix techniques from different styles of massage to better tailor your session.

With a better understanding of pressure versus deep tissue, the receptionists at Elements will be able to better communicate with you and match you with the therapist that will best suite your needs. Don't be afraid to ask questions. It's ok to be specific if you are looking for a heavy pressure relaxation massage. And there is nothing wrong with a gentle deep tissue massage, either.

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