A deep tissue massage is a massage that utilises pressurised strokes to target deeper muscle layers. Deep tissue massages provide physical benefits such as pain relief, improved sleep quality and increased mobility. They provide psychological benefits like lower stress and decreased levels of anxiety and depression. Deep tissue massages are particularly effective at targeting pain and tension in the shoulders, neck and back.


Deep tissue massage techniques

Deep tissue massage techniques apply more pressure than other massage techniques. A deep tissue massage employs the use of palms and fingers to target and treat muscle tissue. Elbows are used to increase pressure when necessary. Slow, deep strokes provide sustained pressure to target deeper muscle layers and connective tissue. Hot stone massage utilises deep tissue massage techniques with the addition of heated volcanic rocks.


What are the benefits of a deep tissue massage?

A deep tissue massage provides physical and psychological benefits to recipients. Listed below are the various benefits and their supporting evidence.

  • Deep tissue massages promote relaxation. According to a 2012 study by Morhenn, Beavin and Zak, deep tissue and other massage types increase oxytocin in the body. Oxytocin is a hormone that lowers blood pressure and cortisol levels in the body, reducing stress.
  • Musculoskeletal pain is reduced by deep tissue massage. A 2014 study by Majchrzycki demonstrated the viability of deep tissue massage for treating chronic lower back pain. A 2012 study by Romanowski  demonstrated that deep tissue massage was better for improving chronic lower back pain than a therapeutic massage. A 2019 study by Srokowska  showed that deep tissue massage could reduce pain and increase mobility in the thoracic spine.
  • Deep tissue massages promote injury recovery. A 2020 study by Kushartanti and Ambardini demonstrated that deep tissue massage benefitted people recovering from ankle injuries. The group receiving deep tissue massages noted less pain and faster regaining of mobility.
  • Deep tissue massage alleviates plantar fasciitis symptoms. Plantar fasciitis is a condition characterised by pain and stiffness in the bottom of the heel resulting from inflammation. According to a 2014 study by Saban, Deutscher and Ziv, deep tissue massage reduces stiffness and pain in the plantar fascia and surrounding tendons to increase mobility.
  • Mental health benefits from deep tissue massage. A 2015 study by Zadkhosh demonstrated how regular massage could decrease levels of depression, anxiety and stress.
  • Deep tissue massages provide longer-lasting benefits. A 2010 literature review by Tiffany Field showed that greater pressure correlated to longer-lasting effects from massages.
  • High blood pressure is lowered by deep tissue massage. Kaye’s 2008 study successfully demonstrated deep tissue massage’s efficacy at lowering blood pressure and heart rate in participants.
  • Deep tissue massage can function as a pregnancy massage. A 2015 study by Romanowski demonstrates how deep tissue massage can reduce lower back pain and increase functional capacity in pregnant women.
  • Deep tissue massages provide post-pregnancy benefits. A 2021 study by Güney and Uçar showed that deep tissue massages reduce pain and increase comfort in women who have had a caesarean section. A 2012 study by Ko demonstrated how back massages could improve sleep quality in women postpartum.


What’s the difference between deep tissue massage and remedial massage?

Deep tissue massage and remedial massage are similar but distinct types of massages.

They both utilise similar techniques to target deeper layers of muscle. The differences between them are their intent and focus. Remedial massages are designed to help people rehabilitate from injuries. They target specific body parts in need of treatment and don’t always apply hard pressure. Deep tissue massages can provide tangible benefits but are designed for relaxation. They are performed on the whole body, and they always include deep pressure.


What’s the difference between deep tissue massage and sports massage?

Deep tissue massage and sports massage are similar massages with different areas of focus. Deep tissue massage provides benefits for pain relief and reduced stiffness but is primarily utilised for relaxation. Sports massages are specifically designed to treat sports-based injuries and discomfort. They focus on increasing mobility and flexibility with their treatment. Deep tissue massages target the whole body with deep strokes, whereas sports massages target the areas being affected by the injury with varying levels of pressure.


What’s the difference between a deep tissue massage and a Swedish massage?

Deep tissue massage and Swedish massage are significantly different types of massage.

Swedish massage is gentle and does not focus on applying a high amount of pressure. It targets superficial muscle layers in high-tension areas like the neck and shoulders. Swedish massage can also provide benefits to lymphedema. Deep tissue massage applies a high amount of pressure to reach deeper layers of muscle. It is also used for relaxation, but it’s more effective than Swedish massage at providing pain relief.


Woman lying face down in a massage bed and receiving an upper back massage

Can deep tissue massage help with neck and shoulder pain?

Deep tissue massages can alleviate pain in the neck and shoulders. The source of the pain influences the viability of deep tissue massage as a treatment. Issues like muscular tightness benefit well from massage. If the source of the pain is a fracture or rotator cuff tear, other interventions are more appropriate. Tiffany Field’s 2014 study demonstrated that neck arthritis benefits greatly from regular massage. Participants found that pain was reduced and range of motion was increased. A 2017 review by Yuen showed that shoulder pain is greatly reduced by massage therapy. Massage therapy also provided faster relief than other forms of intervention.


Can deep tissue massage help with a pinched nerve?

Deep tissue massage can help with a pinched nerve, depending on the cause. If the pinched nerve is the result of soft tissue stiffening, then deep tissue massage can be helpful. If the pinched nerve is the result of spinal compression, deep tissue massage is not recommended. Certain nerves in the body can potentially experience damage or pain as a result of massage therapy. A trained professional, like Mosman Spa’s, knows how to avoid these areas.


Deep tissue massage aftercare

Deep tissue massages do not require significant aftercare. The main steps to follow for aftercare are avoiding strenuous activity for one or two days and staying hydrated. Avoiding strenuous activity allows the muscles to rebuild. Drinking water for hydration encourages circulation and hydrates muscle tissue. A warm bath soothes the body during recovery. If an area of the body continues to feel sore, an ice pack helps to reduce inflammation.


Where is the best deep tissue massage in Perth?

If you’re looking for the best deep tissue massage in Perth, Mosman Spa has you covered. Our trained masseuses will provide the relief and relaxation that you are looking for. Book now to enjoy our deep tissue massage.