Slowly open your eyes, blinking every now and then to adapt to the new day. When you take a deep breath and spread your arms out, you can feel it. It’s the morning after your massage, and you’re wondering to yourself, “Did I work out yesterday?” “Did I lift weights when I was sleeping?” Your muscles are a little achy, and some of them seem swollen, almost bruised. You’re much more exhausted than normal. You suspect that something isn’t quite right. I mean, this soreness couldn’t possibly be related to your massage, could it? Didn’t you arrange your massage in the hopes of getting some relief from your tight and tender spots?
Before you call your massage therapist and say, “What did you do to me?” in the middle of the night, realise that it’s perfectly natural for your body to feel a little sore and out of whack the day after a massage, as strange as it might sound. Having a deep-tissue massage is close to getting a demanding workout for your muscles. During the session, they were stretched and manipulated, and the massage improved blood supply in your tight areas. Our muscle lining is expected to be silky smooth and move freely. When a group of muscles becomes strong, stretched, or kinked, it becomes more rigid and relies on adjacent muscle areas to assist. During a massage, the practitioner stretches, lengthens, and breaks up groups of muscles (commonly referred to as knots), potentially creating micro tears in the muscle. This is a natural feature of massage, and although it increases blood flow and promotes healing in that region, it can also cause tenderness the next day. Additionally, if you are dehydrated on the day of your massage, your muscle tissue would be less pliable, resulting in more soreness.
Deep tissue massage is typically used to address a particular issue, such as chronic muscle pain, injury recovery, or the following conditions:
Pain in the lower back
Recovering from an injury (e.g. whiplash, falls)
Hamstrings, glutes, IT band, legs, quadriceps, rhomboids, and upper back muscle tension
Sciatica is a pain in the lower back
Piriformis syndrome4 is a condition that affects the piriformis muscle
Fibromyalgia is a form of fibromyalgia.
Pain in the upper back or neck3
Not all of these advantages have been proved scientifically. However, if you want a massage to avoid sports injuries, fix sport-specific issues, or aid muscle recovery after sports, consider having a sports massage.
The 9 Most Common Massage Types.
What to Anticipate
Although some of the strokes are similar to those used in Swedish massage, deep tissue massage is not a more powerful form of Swedish massage.
Lighter pressure is usually used at the start of a deep tissue massage to warm up and prepare the muscles. Following that, specific methods are used.
Stripping: The elbow, wrist, knuckles, and thumbs are used to apply deep, gliding pressure along the length of the muscle fibres.
Friction: To release adhesions and realign tissue fibres, pressure is exerted around the grain of a muscle.
During a deep tissue massage, massage therapists can use their fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms. When the massage therapist works on tense areas, you will be advised to take deep breaths.
You may experience some discomfort or soreness after the massage, but this should pass in a day or two. If you have any questions or experience discomfort after receiving a massage, please contact your massage therapist.
After the massage, drinking water can help flush metabolic waste from the tissues.