What Is a Deep Tissue Massage?

A deep tissue massage does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a popular massage technique that uses firm pressure to reach deeper layers of muscle tissue to alleviate tension and pain.

Similar to a Swedish massage, a deep tissue massage uses slow strokes to apply various amounts of pressure to tight or painful muscles and is used to relieve chronic aches and pain in areas such as the neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back and legs.

What to expect

At the beginning of a deep tissue massage, lighter pressure is usually used to ‘warm up’ your muscles in preparation for the more intense pressure that will be applied later. Remember that a deep tissue massage is used for rehabilitation, not relaxation – so if you’re looking for a gentle, calming treatment, this may not be the right massage for you.

Once your muscles have been warmed up, more specific techniques will then be used. Some of the most common techniques used in a deep tissue massage are:

  • Stripping: Applying deep pressure along the length of a muscle using the elbow, forearm, knuckles, and thumbs
  • Friction: When pressure is applied across the grain of a muscle to release adhesions (bands of painful / rigid tissue) and realign tissue fibres

During the massage, your therapist may use their fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows and forearms to break up scar tissue and ‘knots’ in your muscles or adhesions that can cause pain and inflammation. You may also be asked to breathe deeply while the massage therapist works on particularly tense areas.

Because your massage therapist may work on muscles that haven’t been used so intensely in a while, you may feel some discomfort during the massage. However, if you feel any pain at all, be sure to tell your therapist. Pain isn’t necessarily a sign that a deep tissue massage is working – in fact, it may cause your body to tense up and make it harder for them to reach the deeper muscles.

If you make your therapist aware of any pain, they can adjust their technique or return to using lighter pressure to better prepare and warm up any particularly tense muscles to alleviate some of the discomfort and make sure that they give you the most effective massage possible.

Top tip: To boost the effectiveness of the treatment, spend some time in the sauna before and after to relax and soothe your muscles.

What is a deep tissue massage for?

Deep tissue massages are used to treat or relieve a number of problems or health conditions, including:

  • Back, shoulder and neck pain
  • Muscle tension
  • Recovery from injury (such as sports injuries or falls)
  • Limited mobility
  • Problems with posture

Are you ready to book your massage?

If you’re experiencing any kind of muscle tension, booking a massage can do wonders to alleviate the pain and make you feel much more comfortable.

If you’re planning on booking a deep tissue massage (or any treatment for that matter), take a minute to check if your local spa is available through My Spa Pass. We’ve partnered with spas across the UK to offer exclusive discounts all year round – simply sign up to start saving.

Some of our Partners...

Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with news and offers:

© My Spa Pass

Newsletter Sign Up

Enter your name and email to join our newsletter ensuring you will be kept up to date with the latest news and offers and find out more about our monthly competitions!


Choose your Membership