What is Deep Tissue? and Should Deep Tissue Hurt?

What is deep tissue?

Deep tissue massage is about focused work for long-term results. It has much less to do with pressure, and more to do with technique. Yes, deep tissue work can be a much stronger pressure, but it is not always the case. A no pain, no gain mentality is common among many clients and I often find myself educating clients that just because you CAN take the pain, doesn’t mean you need to, or that it’s even good for you. Pain is our bodies way of telling us that something is wrong. Some discomfort is to be expected. But there’s a difference between pain, and therapeutic discomfort. Just because you CAN take it, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. I encourage clients to work within their own personal limits and to gage the pressure on a 1-10 scale, where 7 is a threshold. When we work within these limits there should not be any prolonged soreness. 

I typically use a combination of swedish massage techniques intermixed with deep tissue and sports massage to deliver a balanced session. The end goal for most clients is to feel relief from any tension and pain, as well as to feel more relaxed. The best way to acomplish this is to address the entire system. A full body massage that strikes a balance between deep massage and relaxation will help to calm the nervous system while releasing muscle tension.

How long should soreness last, after a massage?


Some soreness, up to 48 hours after a massage session, can be expected when we are breaking down stubborn knots and adhesions or scar tissue. If you are still sore beyond that, it’s a strong indication that we worked too deep and should redefine your threshold. Bodywork should happen within the bounderies of comfort. You should not experience pain. 

 The Massage PressureScale: 


The 1-10 massage pressure scale is a great tool for communication between you and your therapist. At any point during your massage session you can communicate that the pressure in a certain area could be a bit more or a bit less by using a number as reference. When used regularly, from session to session, this becomes an even more powerful tool, allowing you to customize each massage moment to moment. Remember that open communication and feedback is crucial to a successful working relationship with your massage therapist.  

If you’re still wondering what else massage is good for, check out: Science Backed, Health Benefits of Massage