Jan 2015 17

Ted's story - deep tissue massage

By: Dave Wheeler

Deep tissue massage is a form of massage which aims to work through all the layers of muscle and soft tissue to leave that muscle deeply relaxed.

Ted treats himself once a month coming for a full body deep tissue massage, just to treat himself.

Ted doesn't go the gym, run or cycle regularly or have a job that causes any repetitive injuries to his muscles - he just wants to spoil himself.


pic by Ambro @ freedigitialphotos.net


The definition of deep tissue massage

If you've ever had a spa masasge, then you're probably familiar with Swedish massage, which uses the general massage techniques of effluerage, petrissage and tapotement.

These techniques are applied in a specific order, or set of routines which are designed to create a sense of flow and calm.

Deep tissue massage on the other hand targets all the various layers of soft tissue:

  • the fascia, a web of connective tissue that acts like a body stocking covering the whole body under the skin
  • the muscle itself - working from the superficial layers of muscle (closest to the skin) to the deep layers closest to the bone
  • tendons, which attach muscle to bone


Head to toe massage

When Ted comes for his regular full body deep tissue massage he does so because it leaves him feeling positive, refreshed and relaxed.

A deep tissue massage gets not only to the body, but also to the brain.

To get to that point, each of the muscles is massaged with precision. As each layer of muscle loosens up and relaxes, it allows me to access a deep layer and work on that - the result is that all of the muscles massaged are genuinely and deeply relaxed.

Unlike Swedish massage, deep tissue massage doesn't use fixed routines - since each person's body is so different, what you need won't be exactly the same as what Ted needs, so your treatment wont' be what he needs, it'll be what you need.

To give you an idea, though, a typical treatment for Ted follows starts something like this:

  1. the fascia and superficial muscles of his back are loosened up, with long slow strokes along the length of his back
  2. each of the muscles between the bony prominences coming off his spine are loosend all the way up from his coccyx to the nape of his neck
  3. the muscles either side at the small of his back are worked on, concentrating on where the muscle joins the bone at the top of the hip and the bottom of the last rib
  4. the long muscles running either side of his spine are then warmed up, and pressure applied both along & across them (working all the way up) to relax them
  5. the muscles between each of his ribs at the back and side (the "spare ribs") are massaged with a finger tip
  6. then I start work on the area between the shoulder blades, working slowly up towards the neck - all slowly, starting with the superficial muscles and then gently going deeper...

well you get the idea. 

This sort of precision work continues on his shoulders, arms, legs, feet, stomach, chest - whichever we feel will relax him most.

Ted's deep tissue massage always ends with a relaxing massage of the back of his neck, gently, carefully & precisely massaging each of the muscles there.

If you fancy following Ted's lead and trying out a deep tissue massage, then give me a call.