The Deep Tissue Conspiracy

What exactly is deep tissue? When I was in Massage school, someone would come in and want “deep tissue”. The individual overseeing us would tell us, just press harder. Hmmm….

After taking my first continuing education class I found many effective ways to solve problems without hurting myself or my client by “pressing harder”. As I became more and more enlightened, I also found that there were a lot of old ideas out there about what “deep tissue” should look like. Some involved words like no pain no gain, (to a point can be true but these were extreme things I was finding) tearing, stripping, ripping, the deeper the better, goodness! Can we say possible tissue damage? Plus why do we want to use these types of words in connection with our body? why do we want to tear and rip our body?

I then learned what really happens when you do heavy body building. The muscle is actually torn creating scar tissue build up which makes the muscle bigger. when you stop doing extreme things the muscle looses the toning. Then I wondered, what happens to the scar tissue, is is possible there could be more scar tissue than muscle in extreme cases? Food for thought. I know I could be raising some from  questions body builders, and I’m not saying there isn’t value in building your body, but could there be something else happening when it goes too far?

Personally, I work on people with scar tissue all the time, Cannot say I have ever seen it be of benefit after the initial reason for it being created in the first place.  Here’s what happens; when you have an injury blood and tissue rush to the area to create like a built in cast, which is great and it does wonderful to support the injured area while healing happens. But, it doesn’t actually dissolve by itself and that’s when you find your massage therapist to help get rid of the problem because then it’s causing other issues like adhesions, loss of range of motion, even can cause pinching of nerves, fascia restriction, Lymphatic restriction…

In addition to these things I had learned, I found that everyone had a different view of deep tissue and for some I seriously could not go deep enough. I also began noticing that while my massages were effective, I was wearing out and became worried about how long I would be able to effectively treat clients. I began seeing that many Massage therapists only had a life-span of about 7 years. If they were massaging longer it was because they weren’t doing this thing called deep tissue or they were not being effective as a therapist, or they were maybe doing 2-3 massages a week.  It was then, I made the decision, I took deep tissue off my menu.

By the time I made the decision to remove deep tissue I had learned a few methods that were much more effective and took much less out of my personal physical strength and didn’t cause my clients such stress on their bodies as well. I decided it was better to work with the body instead of against it and the results were incredible.

I began incorporating techniques such as structural alignment therapy, Craniosacral, Medical massage, lymph drainage, hot stones, among others that I began developing myself, to create the Custom Massage. I found that muscles that don’t release well had a few other things going on. It could be an energetic block, or a lymphatic block, perhaps a muscle needed unwinding. So some of my clients began noticing that they didn’t have to brace so much for the massage and could relax which in turn relaxed the muscles, tendons, and fascia. There was still some discomfort in the process, but the overall result was much more effective.

Instead of ripping, tearing, and stripping the muscles, tendons and fascia, I learned that “deep” is all relative, Craniosacral is a very very light modality but it goes very deep. Cupping, uses negative pressure but the effects for very deep, Lymphatic drainage, also a light pressure, addresses the superficial lymphatic system but affects muscles tendons and fascia.

I’m not saying that a massage won’t be without discomfort when done effectively, but like I tell my clients, there’s a difference between a good pain and an ouch. If you want a fu fu definitely ask for that but for everything else, try on an effective massage versus just “deep”

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