Deep Tissue Massage has a firm, deep and assertive touch. Gliding strokes are more direct. Massage therapist may use the thumb, fist with the arm gliding in a stiff motion or use the forearm and body weight for pressure. Deep pressure is mainly used on targeted areas of muscle soreness, pain and trigger points.
At times, the muscle may feel tender to the initial touch, but then relaxes and doesn’t hurt or feel as sore. This is usually because the muscle is ischemic, where there is poor blood circulation. After a few gliding strokes and kneading the muscle or the use of vibration and cross-fiber friction (stroking the muscle in a crosswise motion in a different direction of the muscle’s origin and insertion) the blood flows better and the muscle pain is relieved or reduced.
The deep tissue technique is very affective on tense muscles due to stress on the body from exercising, repetitive motion (typing at a computer), lifting or holding heavy objects and sitting or standing for long periods of time. However, some people have more muscle mass and require a firm and deeper touch without having any problem of muscle pain.
Range of motion, and counter-resistance can also be used in helping a contracting muscle release. The range of motion is passive. The therapist moves the limb by extension and hyper-extension, inversion and eversion, circular motion, twisting and stretching. Counter-resistance is utilized by the therapist holding the extremity stationary and resisting while the individual presses in the opposite direction. This helps with muscle memory and causes the muscle to release from the contracting position.
After receiving a deep tissue massage, it is recommended that the recipient drink plenty of water. The individual may experience some soreness the next day or some tenderness when the muscle is touched, but the discomfort is minimal and usually is gone in a few days. A cold pack should be placed on the muscle, if it feels inflamed. However, the recipient should have more range of motion and less discomfort overall.