Definition of Deep Tissue Massage: Generally when people ask for a deep-tissue massage,
they really just mean they want “deep” work, the level of which is quite individual. In true
“deep-tissue” massage, the therapist uses techniques that are different than Swedish
massage, but usually they incorporate some “Swedish” into the treatment. Deep-tissue
techniques include cross-fiber work, Acupressure, and Trigger Point therapies.
Deep Tissue techniques are not really relaxing at all, because the client doesn’t get to
relax until after the treatment is finished. In many cases, the treatment resembles Physical
Therapy more than Massage Therapy, and the deeper pressure is beneficial in releasing
chronic muscle tension. The focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons, and
fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones, and joints).
A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that people’s blood
pressure fell after a single 45 to 60 minute Deep Tissue massage. Additionally, a 2010 meta-
analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that massage modalities like Deep Tissue
reduce stress hormone levels and heart rate while boosting mood and relaxation by triggering
the release of oxytocin and serotonin.