Deep tissue massage is a massage technique that’s mainly used to treat musculoskeletal issues, such as strains and sports injuries. It involves applying sustained pressure using slow, deep strokes to target the inner layers of your muscles and connective tissues. This helps to break up scar tissue that forms following an injury and reduce tension in muscle and tissue.
It may also promote faster healing by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation.
Read on to learn more about deep tissue massage, including how it stacks up against Swedish massage and what to expect during a session.
Deep tissue massage offers both physical and psychological benefits. Unlike other massage techniques that focus on relaxation, deep tissue massage helps to treat muscle pain and improve stiffness. But it can still help to you unwind mentally, too.
A 2014 study involving 59 participants found that deep tissue massage helped to reduce pain in people with chronic low back. The authors likened its effects to those of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil).
People have also reported that deep tissue massage helps with:
Deep tissue massage and Swedish massage are two different types of massage therapy. Both use some of the same strokes, but they have different uses and vary greatly when it comes to the amount of pressure used.
Here are the key differences between deep tissue massage and Swedish massage:
Before your deep tissue massage, your massage therapist will want to know about your problem areas. A deep tissue massage can involve your entire body or just one area.
Once ready, you’ll be asked to lie on your back or stomach, under a sheet. Your level of undress is based on your comfort, but the area being worked on will need to be exposed.
The massage therapist will warm up your muscles using a lighter touch. Once you’re warmed up, they’ll start working on your problem areas. They’ll use deep kneading and stroking with varying amounts of intense pressure.
It’s not unusual to have some lingering soreness for a few days following a deep tissue massage. Using a heating pad or a cold pack wrapped in a towel may help to relieve soreness.
Though massage therapy is generally safe, deep tissue massage uses very firm pressure and may not be safe for everyone.
Speak to your doctor before having a deep tissue massage if you:
Anyone with osteoporosis or cancer that’s spread to the bones should avoid deep tissue massage as the firm pressure used may cause a fracture. You should also hold off on deep tissue massages if you’re pregnant. Gentler types of massage, such as Swedish massage, maybe a better option.
If you have an open wound or skin infection of any kind, you’ll need to reschedule to avoid developing new infection or making an existing one worse.
If you want to try a deep tissue massage, it’s important to work with a qualified massage therapist.
To find a massage therapist:
As you sort through potential massage therapists, keep a few things in mind:
Deep tissue massage is best suited for people who engage in highly physical activities, such as running or those who have an injury or chronic pain. If you have a low pain threshold or are looking for relief of tense muscles, Swedish massage is gentler and may be a better option. Speak to your doctor before trying deep tissue massage if you have an underlying medical condition.
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“Make the Most of Colorado’s Mud Season”- Shoulder season means bigger deals and smaller crowds.
In the Colorado high country, mountain folk have an expression for that slowed-down stretch of time after ski season and before the busy summer hike-bike-festivals season rolls in.
Aptly named “mud season” refers to late April through May when spring’s sun melts winter’s snowpack, rivers swell and trails transition from frozen to sloppy to dry.
Here are our top tips for making the most of Colorado’s shoulder season in the mountains.
Take a deep breath of glorious mountain air and revel in the lack of crowds. The beauty of the spring off-season lies in wide-open sidewalks, rested and smiling locals and fewer cars on I-70. Daytime temps can climb into the 50s, making for a nice stroll down mountain town Main Streets.
Mid-May is also a great time to go whitewater rafting in Colorado. The river flows are picking up speed and rafting outfitters are excited to get their boats back in the water.
Spring is when Colorado’s rainbow and cutthroat trout start to spawn, making for optimal fly-fishing conditions. Other do-it-while-it’s-quiet ideas include mountain brewery tours, historic walking tours and hot springs soaking (we recommend Iron Mountain Hot Springs or Trimble Spa & Natural Hot Springs). Be sure to explore Colorado’s four national parks before the summer crowds arrive.
Many mountain town restaurants that remain open in May offer diners 2-for-1 deals. Buy one steak dinner and get the second one free. It’s the perfect excuse to book a date night and try that fine dining spot you wouldn’t normally splurge on.
Some restaurants throw locals appreciation parties and serve up steeply discounted or free apps and drinks, while others host end-of-season keg draining bashes to sell off winter’s brews before they usher in summer seasonals.
Disclaimer: A handful of mountain restaurants close entirely for mud season. Call before you go.
Reduced rate lodging is another prime shoulder season perk. Hotel, condo and resort discounts can often range from 30 to 50 percent off. Call ahead, check online and follow your favorite mountain properties on social media—they’ll throw out offers to loyal fans.
Spring is a fantastic time to spruce up your outdoor gear collection. Ski and apparel shops are slashing prices, pushing out last season’s gear before the new biking, hiking and running garb comes in. If you’re in the market for a new snowboard, boots or skis, May is the time to wrangle a deal.
For those who get bored and miss the buzz of tourism and trail traffic, don’t worry, it will be back right around Memorial Day. Hang on tight and get your fill of rafting, mountain biking, camping and hiking—summer in the mountains flies as quickly as the wildflowers bloom and the rivers flow and ebb.
By Lisa Blake
“Make the Most of Colorado’s Mud Season”