When there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation.
Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To do this, the massage therapist often uses direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles.
Deep tissue massage techniques are the same as the techniques used in Swedish massage, but the pressure is more intense. The techniques used include:
- Effleurage: This technique involves gliding stokes using the fingertips and/or thumbs and the palms of the hands.
- Friction: This technique involves using circular pressure with the fingers and/or thumbs and the palms of the hands.
- Percussion: This technique involves tapping or brisk hacking.
- Petrissage: This technique includes kneading movements using the fingers and/or thumbs and the palms of the hands.
- Vibration: This technique involves vibrating or shaking the body using oscillatory movements.
- Active and Passive Movements: This technique involves stretching and bending.