Whether you are a newly qualified massage therapist or have been working as a therapist for many years, you have likely come across clients who enjoy the sensation of deep tissue massage
Mechanically, there are five things you can do to increase the depth of your massageLet’s look briefly at each of the five.
1Apply more pressureMany therapists discount this possibility, believing they are not physically capable of applying more pressure, perhaps because they are tiny compared to their client, or because their client is particularly muscularLacking confidence, therapists sometimes avoid treating clients who request deep tissue massage, doubting their ability to compress tissues any more than they are already doing
Many years ago I was asked to provide a workshop on deep tissue massage to a group of Japanese aromatherapistsThe group was comprised of female therapists, most of them slight of frameThe therapists were initially dubious that they would be able to use deep tissue massage techniques, but after lowering all the treatment couches and practising on each other, they discovered that with proper leverage and by using the right technique they could apply deep tissue massage quite effectively.
2Keep the pressure the same, but reduce the surface area to which you are applying it
3Apply more pressure and reduce the surface area to which you are applying pressure.
4Have the client contract the muscle that works opposite to the one you are treating (i.e., the antagonist’s muscle)Contraction of the antagonist results in a decrease in tone in the agonist (the muscle you are working), thus facilitating deeper pressureSome of the techniques we will describe in this guide make use of this characteristic of muscle function.
5Give the impression of deep pressure without physically pressing into tissue more deeplyHere we come to one of the tricks of the trade of deep tissue massageThe sensation of deep pressure occurs when you add a stretching component to your massageEverything you need to know about this is covered in the future post, in which you will explore how to stretch tissues with and without oil, combining them with compression for maximum effect.