Those who regularly suffer any type of ache and pain often find relief by undergoing a massage. One type of massage that is especially beneficial for active people is a deep tissue massage. If you have suffered an athletic injury or need to alleviate muscle tension, you’ll be very interested to learn the different deep tissue massage benefits.
What Is a Deep Tissue Massage?
Your body’s facia and neural systems contain fibrous tissues that surround and separate the muscle fibers. These fibrous tissues can sometimes form knots or adhesions, creating unnatural tension that may limit motion or cause discomfort. A massage therapist applies gentle force to these areas, allowing muscle fibers to become “unbundled” and gain proper alignment again. Firm pressure is applied in order to reach deep tissues. As such, you may notice some discomfort during a deep tissue massage, but if the procedure is performed correctly, it will not be excruciating.
Deep Tissue Massage Benefits
Active people in particular can enjoy some unique deep tissue massage benefits such as:
- Alleviating chronic pain: A study performed by the University of Maryland Medical Center showed that deep tissue massage is more effective at treating chronic pain than a number of other conventional treatments.
- Improved posture: Deep tissue massage can elongate and realign the muscles, thereby improving posture.
- Increasing blood flow: Better circulation occurs as the therapist applies pressure to deep muscle tissues. Endurance athlete and fitness author David Young claims that muscles have a better pump and grow faster when there is a good blood supply going to them.
- Reduces scar tissue: After a sports injury, scar tissue can build up in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Deep tissue massages releases this scar tissue and help promote healing.
- Cleansing toxins: The pressure applied during a deep tissue massage allows for the easy flow of fluids throughout the body, making it easy for you to remove waste products and toxins.
This type of massage helps active people gain a better range of motion by loosening tissue to allow for easier movement. Deep tissue massage benefits are especially noticeable among athletes with plantar fasciitis, patellar tendonitis, or IT band issues.
When to Have One
A deep tissue massage can be ideal after suffering a sports injury; however, there may be other times when it is appropriate as well. For example, massage therapist Mary Owen, (who specializes in sports therapy), recommends having a deep tissue massage three to seven days before a major sporting event. Some athletes have one on a monthly basis during the off-season as part of an ongoing maintenance program. The only time a deep tissue massage is not recommended is immediately before an athletic competition or whenever you have an acute injury or inflamed muscles or tendons.
Many people eat right and follow a rigid fitness program, yet never consider how the various deep tissue massage benefits could help them get in better shape. If you would like to increase your performance or eliminate tightness or soreness in your muscles, a deep tissue massage could be the answer. If you enjoyed this article, you may want to read our feature on Active Release Technique.