1) Remember that tolerance to deep tissue massage pressure variesClients with tense muscles are likely to feel you are exerting more pressure on them than those with less tense muscles.
2) The tone in muscles usually decreases during deep tissue massage treatment as the client becomes more and more relaxedThis means you are able to access tissues more deeply and with less effort as the massage progresses
This is an important point because it means that towards the end of treatment when the client is perhaps deeply relaxed and her muscles pliable, you can compress and stretch tissues considerably and with great ease, which means extra caution is necessary.
3) With subsequent treatment sessions, clients appear to become more and more acclimatized to the sensation of deep tissue massage, perhaps as their bodies get used to this form of treatment
You might discover when treating clients for the first time, and it is slightly difficult to really ‘get into’ their muscles, even when you have a clear intention and work slowly and cautiouslyDo not despair with time, progress will likely be madeDon’t struggle to achieve too much too soon.
Massage is not an exact science, and different bodies respond in their own time scalesA client who has built up shoulder and neck tension by sitting at a desk for the last ten years is going to respond differently from a client who has built up shoulder and neck tension from playing tennis for the first time in 30 years.
However, if after six treatments, you feel you are not making progress, it is time to examine your techniqueIf you are confident you are working correctly, it is worth considering referring the client to another practitioner unless, of course, he is happy with your work.
4) Deep Tissue Massage is Performed more slowly than Swedish massage; deep tissue massage takes longer to administerTry calmly suggesting to your clients that instead of receiving a full-body treatment, they sometimes consider receiving deep tissue massage to one part of the body, such as the lower limbs, for one or two sessions
This will allow you to work in a more concentrated manner, which is sometimes warranted for the treatment of certain conditions.
5) Conversely, working in a very concentrated manner on just one part of the body using deep tissue massage can feel strange for the client if this is not integrated into an overall treatment
There will certainly be times when it is not convenient to treat the whole body, and you might need to address a particular joint or group of musclesThe downside to this is that it can focus the client’s attention solely on that area of the bodyThis is not always advisable, especially if the client is recovering from injury.
6) If you enjoy the sensation of deep pressure during the massage, you understand that it is frustrating to request deep pressure and then for the therapist not to check in with you to see if the pressure is deep enough, especially when it is not
We don’t want to be asking our clients every five minutes how they are and whether the pressure is okay (and with regular clients you will have developed an intuitive sense of touch, so you will know this), but when using deep tissue techniques on a client for the first time, you should request really clear feedbackRather than asking, ‘How’s the pressure,’ be more specificAsk, ‘Do you want more pressure?’
7) Maintain physical contact with the clientSome techniques might require you to add a facecloth and to work through it, then to remove this and soothe the area using oilYou will be using your body differently, too, sometimes leaning on your client, sometimes maybe even sitting on or supporting yourself on the treatment couch
When first learning, it is a really good practice to focus on always maintaining contact with your clientYou will need to keep your equipment within easy reach and find new ways to move around the couch while keeping at least one hand on the client.
8) Some therapists like to incorporate breathing techniques with clients to facilitate relaxation during the massageAlthough some clients do not wish to take such a participatory role in their treatment, for those that do, the method is quite simple.
Ask your client to exhale as you compress or stretch the tissuesMuscle tone is reduced on exhalation and increased on inhalationKnowing this, you can use breathing techniques to facilitate deeper access to muscles.
9) Avoid overworking any one area too enthusiasticallyInstead, treat, move to another area, and return to reassess the tissuesOften muscles relax when other areas are being treated, and you might find they do not need further work.
10) Remember, you can always incorporate & combine your other massage techniques (such as jostling and shaking) to facilitate a reduction in muscle tension.
Make sure to read the Deep Tissue Massage Articles written by Professional Massage TherapistsYou will find a lot of useful information about various methods of tips & tricks related to deep tissue massage.