Deep Tissue Massage: Relaxation At Your Fingertips

In the course of our daily activities, we can often push our bodies beyond their limit. We experience pain, muscle soreness, stiffness, and tension in our muscles. 

How do you take care of yourself when you’re feeling sore and tense? Deep tissue massage is helpful when medications are not enough. Deep tissue massage is a therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It can help to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and boost your mood. 

Inthis article, we’ll discuss  all you need to know about deep tissue massage. We’ll look at the purpose, benefits, some side effects, and what you should expect from  a deep tissue massage.

If you’re looking for a way to relax, reduce pain, and improve your overall well-being, deep tissue massage may be just the thing for you. Contact us today to learn more about our deep tissue massage services.

What Is Deep Tissue Massage? 

Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It is especially helpful for chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, low back tightness, and sore shoulders. 

During a deep tissue massage, the therapist uses slow and deliberate strokes that focus pressure on layers of muscles, tendons, or other tissues deep under your skin. Though less rhythmic than other types of massage, deep tissue massage can be quite therapeutic -- relieving chronic patterns of tension and helping with muscle injuries, such as a back sprain. 

Deep Tissue Massage vs. Swedish Massage 

Swedish massage is a type of massage that focuses on relaxation and improving circulation. It’s typically a gentler massage that uses long strokes and kneading to work the superficial muscles. It’s often used to reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Deep tissue massage is different from Swedish massage in that it targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. It’s usually performed with more pressure and can be uncomfortable at times. The massage therapist will use their hands, fingers, knuckles, and elbows to work the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. It’s often used to treat chronic pain and tension, improve posture, and reduce stress.

What's The Purpose Of Deep Tissue Massage?

The purpose of deep tissue massage is to release chronic tension in the body through slow strokes and deep pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the grain of muscles, tendons, and fascia. It is both corrective and therapeutic.

Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. Adhesions are rigid bands of tissue that form in muscles, tendons, and ligaments due to injury or chronic tension. Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation.

Deep tissue massage can help to break up and eventually erase scar tissue in the body. It does this by improving lymphatic circulation and drainage to improve flexibility and range of motion in the affected area. 

Scar tissue is often associated with ongoing pain and stiffness, so deep tissue massage can improve these symptoms. Massage therapy is often recommended for people who are recovering from surgery.

Benefits Of Deep Tissue Massage 

A deep tissue massage is a powerful form of massage therapy that can provide a range of physical and mental benefits. Here are some of the benefits you should know:

Stress Relief

Stress is a common problem that affects us all. It can manifest in physical, mental, and emotional ways, and can have a significant impact on our daily lives. Fortunately, deep tissue massage can provide an effective solution for reducing stress levels.

Deep tissue massage can also help to reduce stress hormones like cortisol and increase the level of endorphins, which is a hormone that relaxes the body and produces soothing effects. Cortisol is the hormone that is released when we are feeling stressed, and it can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health. By reducing cortisol levels, deep tissue massage can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Reduces Pain 

Deep tissue massage can help to reduce inflammation and swelling in the affected area, allowing for improved circulation and increased mobility. This type of massage is especially beneficial for those suffering from chronic pain, as it can help to reduce the intensity of the pain and provide long-term relief. Deep tissue massage can also be used to help reduce the severity of headaches, neck and back pain, as well as joint pain.

A 2014 study with 59 participants reported that deep tissue massage helped those with persistent low back pain to feel less discomfort.1 The researchers likened its effects to those of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil).

Muscle Pain

Lowers Heart Rate And Blood Pressure

Deep tissue massage is an excellent way to reduce heart rate and blood pressure. This is because deep tissue massage works to relax the muscles, which in turn relaxes the entire body. When the body is relaxed, the heart rate and blood pressure are both lowered. This helps to reduce stress, which can lead to a variety of health issues, including high blood pressure. 

In a study titled, "The Effect of Deep-Tissue Massage Therapy on Blood Pressure and Heart Rate," 263 individuals who had an average age of 48.5 volunteered to get deep tissue massage in order to examine its effect on diastolic, systolic, and mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate. Deep tissue massage was found to lower blood pressure and heart rate.2

Breaks Down Scar Tissue 

Scar tissue is a natural aspect of the body's healing process. When this tissue forms improperly, it can become restrictive, painful, and rigid. Deep tissue massage can help break down scar tissue by increasing lymphatic circulation and drainage, allowing for improved flexibility and range of motion.

Reduces Arthritis Symptoms 

Arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is a joint disorder that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. Deep tissue massage is an effective treatment for reducing the symptoms of arthritis. 

The deep pressure and massage techniques used in deep tissue massage help to reduce inflammation and improve joint mobility. It also helps to reduce pain and stiffness in the affected joints.

A 2017 study looked at the effects of deep tissue massage in 31 males with ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis.3 The participants were separated into two groups and given either deep tissue massage or therapeutic massage without deep tissue massage techniques. 

Over the course of two weeks, each participant had ten 30-minute massage sessions. The research revealed that deep tissue massage reduced pain much more than therapeutic massage.

Helps Pregnant People With Labor 

The physical and emotional changes that come with pregnancy can be overwhelming, and deep tissue massage can be a great way to help manage them. During labor, the body releases hormones called endorphins, which can help reduce pain and make the process easier. 

Deep tissue massage helps to relax the muscles and reduce tension, which can help reduce labor pain and make labor easier. It can also help to reduce the effects of postpartum depression, as well as help to reduce swelling and improve circulation. According to a 2016 case study, deep tissue massage helped reduce lower back pain in a 28-year-old pregnant person.4 The participant reported a reduction in lower back pain after 12 sessions of deep tissue massage lasting 30 minutes each, twice a week.

Helps To Rehabilitate Injured Muscles

Deep tissue massage removes toxins while also supplying blood and essential nutrients to injured regions, promoting faster recovery and healthy repair. In older injuries, it can even break up scar tissue and stimulate your body to jumpstart the healing process.

Additionally, a deep tissue massage can help stretch tight or twisted muscles and facilitate the movement of toxins from your muscles if you have damaged muscles. Deep tissue massage therapy is widely used to treat sports-related injuries. Many athletes incorporate deep tissue massage into their recovery programs since it can aid with muscle soreness, fatigue, and injury prevention.

Relieving Stress Massage

Possible Side Effects 

Deep tissue massage is a powerful form of massage therapy that can bring about great relaxation and healing. However, like all forms of massage, it is possible to experience some side effects. The most common side effects of deep tissue massage are soreness, bruising, and inflammation. 

  • Soreness is the most common side effect of deep tissue massage. Your muscles may  to feel some soreness after a massage. Make sure to stay well hydrated to alleviate any discomfort. 
  • Bruising occurs when an unlicensed or inexperienced massage therapist applies too much pressure, which can cause the skin to become bruised and tender. It’s important to see a licensed professional to avoid unnecessary injuries caused by an inexperienced practitioner.
  • Inflammation can happen as a result of too much pressure on the areas of the body that are already inflamed or injured. This can cause the inflammation to worsen and can lead to further pain and discomfort.

Other side effects can include

  • Redness of the skin
  • Thirst
  • Tiredness
  • Heightened emotion and possible headache. 

Although these side effects are possible, they are uncommon and can easily be avoided by communicating with your massage therapist, and choosing a therapist who’s a licensed professional. For more on how to avoid injury please read our blog Massage Therapy and Injury Prevention

What To Expect Of A Deep Tissue Massage

When you get a deep tissue massage, you can expect a certain level of discomfort, but it should feel like “Delicious Pain” not “scary pain.” It's important to communicate with the massage therapist about the amount of pressure that is comfortable for you. The massage therapist will adjust the pressure accordingly.

The massage therapist may also use oil to reduce friction on your skin. It's important to let the massage therapist know if the oil is too hot or too cold.

This will follow by warming up your muscles with a light massage. They may then move on to more specific areas of tension and pain. However, the massage therapist may spend extra time on areas of your body that need extra attention.

Contact Us For Our Deep Tissue Massage Services

Deep tissue massage is incredibly therapeutic when done properly. Our licensed massage therapists are trained in providing the best possible care so you seel results and leave feeling so much better.  Be sure to book your massage today with PRESS

A Massage Designed With You In Mind

Deep tissue massage is a great way to find relief from stress, tension, and pain. It can be used to reduce pain, lower heart rate and blood pressure, break down scar tissue, reduce arthritis symptoms, and even help pregnant people with labor. 

The benefits are numerous and the effects can be long-lasting. With the help of an experienced massage therapist, you can experience relaxation and relief at your fingertips. 

So, if you’re looking for an effective way to de-stress and unwind, contact us today to book a Full Body Massage, a Back, Neck & Shoulders Massage, or a Pregnancy Massage depending on your preference! 

Check out our other blogs in preparation for your next massage:


  1. Majchrzycki, M., Kocur, P., & Kotwicki, T. (2014). Deep tissue massage and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for low back pain: A prospective randomized trial. The Scientific World Journal, 2014, 1–7. 
  2. Kaye, A. D., Kaye, A. J., Swinford, J., Baluch, A., Bawcom, B. A., Lambert, T. J., & Hoover, J. M. (2008). The effect of deep-tissue massage therapy on blood pressure and heart rate. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(2), 125–128. 
  3. Romanowski, M. W., Špiritović, M., Rutkowski, R., Dudek, A., Samborski, W., & Straburzyńska-Lupa, A. (2017). Comparison of deep tissue massage and therapeutic massage for lower back pain, disease activity, and functional capacity of ankylosing spondylitis patients: A randomized clinical pilot study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2017, 1–7. 
  4. Romanowski, M. W., & Spiritovic, M. (2016). Deep tissue massage and its effect on low back pain and functional capacity of pregnant women - A case study. Journal of Novel Physiotherapies, 06(03). 


How often do you get deep tissue massage?

Depending on your individual needs and goals, the frequency of deep tissue massage sessions can vary. Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you receive a massage at least once every four to six weeks. However, if you’re dealing with chronic pain or muscle tension, you may need to receive massage more frequently.

How do you prepare for deep tissue massage?

Before your deep tissue massage session, it’s important to take some time to relax and prepare your body. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after the massage to stay hydrated. You should also avoid eating a heavy meal right before the massage, as this can make you feel uncomfortable. It’s also a good idea to wear loose-fitting clothing that won’t restrict your movement.

What to do after the massage?

After your massage, it’s important to take some time to rest and relax. Drink plenty of water. We always like our clients to take some downtime to reconnect with their bodies and rest post session. 

Posted on Mon, Mar 06, 2023