As Practical Massage Therapy's Studio Manager I had no prior experience working with massage therapists, so I had quite the learning curve when I first started! I had to learn about different massage techniques and pass that knowledge on to clients who inquired about them when booking appointments. If there is one thing I would like to relay to the general population about massage therapy it’s the difference between deep tissue and deep pressure massage. Yes, they are two different things. I know I had a very vague idea of the difference myself!
t’s probably the biggest misconception about massage today.
Deep Tissue massage is actually it’s own modality and is for specific issues, which cause chronic pain or limit range of motion. Deep Tissue focuses on one or two muscle groups to retrain the muscles at the root of the problem and is not sustained for the full massage. Deep Tissue is good for breaking up scar tissue and holding patterns such as frozen shoulder syndrome. Therapists may use myofascial release, trigger point therapy, friction, compression, traction, heat and striping with forearms and elbows.
Deep pressure is just what it sounds like: it is any type of massage therapy that is performed with more, or deeper pressure. There are many techniques that can be more effective if the pressure is greater, such as sports massage for an athlete but there are others that require hardly any pressure at all such as craniosacral therapy or John Barnes Myofascial Technique.
It is very important to ALWAYS speak up and let your therapist know if you need the pressure to be corrected. Therapists are trained to listen to your body and they may naturally find the pressure that works for you. Muscles actually push back if the pressure is too intense. This is called Muscle Guarding. It’s a signal that if you continue pushing the muscle you may cause injury to the tissue. Everyone’s body responds differently to body work, some days you may feel you need a lighter touch, while on other days you may feel you could stand a little more pressure.
There are obviously so many factors to consider when you’re thinking about booking a massage appointment. Here at Practical Massage Therapy we charge by time so that our therapists can incorporate different techniques and different types of pressure in to their sessions to accommodate client needs, without having to tack on an extra charge. Keeping an open line of communication throughout your session can be very beneficial and can ensure that you are receiving the therapy that works best for you. It is our intention to provide thoughtful therapeutic work to address issues in a variety of different ways!