‘You look too small to do deep tissue!’ was a common phrase I heard when I was a massage therapist and it turns out there seems to be a rumor going around in massage that I think we need to look a little closer into. That rumor is deeper is always better when it comes to massage. However, in there’s what we learn but then there is what is actually clinically true for us. After years of massaging using all of my muscle and body weight, I now know that sometimes deeper is better…and sometimes it’s not. It’s true that deep tissue is in fact a necessary way to address soft tissue disorders, however, it depends on each individual with how much pressure they can actually take. Watch this video to find out exactly what the perfect balance of deep tissue is in the video below or keep reading.
What about the Nervous System?
What you are really looking to achieve in the massage therapy session is perfect balance between the nervous system and the soft tissue system (and the ‘qi’ or vital life force energy, but we can save that for another blog). There are many things about the atmosphere, the provider and the different therapies they are trained in that can make this possible. Another incredibly soothing tool for the nervous system on top of an already welcoming quiet and warm space is the addition of certain essential oils in a carrier oil to enhance the treatment and calm the nerves. All of our providers here typically will assess what each individual is open to and try different modalities to get not only the soft tissue to release but the nervous system to relax as well.
You see, during a massage you should never feel tense or feel discomfort…usually. Again, with certain techniques, there is sometimes some general discomfort that needs to be worked through. However, this should only be for shorter times and not last the length of the treatment. With any pain or discomfort in any massage setting for any amount of time, please always tell your therapist. There is never unwelcome feedback in the world of massage therapy. We always want to adjust to make sure we are hitting the sweet spot of firm enough pressure without eliciting a response or trigger to the nervous system, thus preventing deep releasing of the muscles, or knots.
Is Deep Tissue always Better?
What we have learned from some of the acupuncturists here at Isthmus that specialize in treatment of pain and chronic pain syndromes that often what we feel we need deep tissue on could actually be a case where myofascial, light cupping, stretching, neurovascular or lighter more integrative massage techniques may be the missing link for true healing potential. Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? Try mixing up your approaches until you find the right mix that feels right for you and gets you closer to your goals. And please remember, it takes time. Be patient with your body as it ebbs and flows through it’s changing needs. In holistic medicine, we try and take the fast lane when we are able, however, if we are driving an eight lane highway, we can only merge over one lane at a time! Your body will not let us miss a step, so be patient as the process works itself out.