Deep tissue massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and the connective tissue or fascia.
This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the superficial muscles. Deep tissue massage is recommended for individuals who suffer from chronic pain or who engage in heavy physical activity, such as athletes and patients who have sustained physical injury.
Where there is chronic muscular tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of rigid tissue) between the bags of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The body adapts to pain or bad structure by “cementing” certain parts of the system together to patch it up and keep it going. Adhesions can block circulation, restrict movement and lead to local muscular inflammation. Millions of desk workers have, for example, rigid upper and lower backs and bands of tight fascia that are commonly called “knots” due to habitual poor sedentary posture, which leads to a reshaping of the body with respect to gravity and the central line of the body. The body always compensates for poor structure by building up new tissue. It is helpful to think of the bags of muscles as having a “glue” between them that determines posture, and that this glue is influenced by structural alignment, injury and movement in the form of exercise.
Scar tissue is another form of adhesion that can restrict motion, and localised injury can lead to a re-gluing of muscle bags that prevents any pressure near the injured site. Over time, the compensation leads to a build up of tightness around the injury, as the body tries to “protect” the weak spot from too much physical pressure.
Deep tissue massage works by deep pressure or friction to relieve pain and restore normal movement by breaking down these adhesions. By changing the local chemistry of the “glue” (which is just a form of collagen) the tight bands of fascia soften and are then absorbed back into the body. This can only be successful if the person then re-aligns their body structure so the adhesions do not return, because they are mostly caused by poor posture, as well as by injury.
If you suffer from chronic pain and tension in the upper or lower back, or have restricted movement due to injury, overwork or stress, this therapy can provide some welcome relief!
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