Is Deep Tissue Massage Right For You?

Massage client receiving deep tissue massage

Interested in becoming a massage therapist? Most of us understand the basic concepts of massage but need more education to understand the details and distinctions. An education as a massage therapist protects both the massage therapist, as well as their clients. As a massage therapist, you will need to learn different techniques and one of these techniques is deep tissue massage. But what is deep tissue massage?

What is Deep Tissue Massage?

Classic forms of massage therapy tend to focus on comfort and relaxation. Deep tissue massage is more centrally focused on correction and rehabilitation than creating a comfortable, soothing experience. The firm pressure applied during a deep tissue massage helps guide the realignment of the deeper layers of muscle and assist in undoing any of the connective tissue that may be knotted along those muscles.

Who Should Get a Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage repairs a minor muscular injury or to combat chronic pain and discomfort. As a massage therapist, these are some of the reasons your client’s may want a deep tissue massage.

The Client’s Career or Lifestyle

Athletic work has a high impact on nearly every muscle of the body. Whether your client does it for fun or as a career, a regular deep tissue appointment may be in order. Manual labor and heavy lifting work can also create muscle knotting and tissue binding, even if it is just simple home repairs.

Your client can also sustain muscle and tissue injury from working with young children. Lifting and caring for children requires a lot of muscle exertion that can wear down their body quicker than they may expect. If your client has a physically high-impact career or lead an active lifestyle this kind of deep massage might be something that they want to think about.

A Condition or Ailment

While deep tissue massage appointments are typically made in response to an injury, they can also be part of an on-going care plan. Some injuries leave your clients with chronic pain and discomfort that disrupts their life and requires attention.

People will sometimes try to avoid using prescription medication by opting to deal with their on-going pain in a different, more holistic way. There are also medical issues and conditions that may also benefit from occasional or regular deep tissue massages. Those who suffer the symptoms of fibromyalgia have reported feeling relief from frequent deep tissue massages. Sciatica trouble, plantar fasciitis, and tennis elbow can also be relieved in many instances.

What are the Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage?

With all this talk about impact and injury, it is important for your client to remember that all the discomfort ultimately leads to their body feeling better. Here are some of the benefits to keep in mind if your client is still a bit skeptical of deep tissue massages.

Increased Comfort/Quality of Life

The appointment itself may be uncomfortable at certain points. However, it is the way the body feels after the appointment that should be the focus. This kind of massage helps your client achieve long lasting results and relief. So, while it may be initially uncomfortable, the benefits will long outlast the discomfort needed to achieve them.


Stimulating the deeper layers of muscle and multiple types of tissues can release toxins that can build up in knots from stress and pain. Allowing these toxins to build up without ever expressing or releasing them can have serious effects on your client’s general health. Manual stimulation is an efficient way to clear the toxins that dietary cleanses and healthy living can sometimes miss.


When your client’s muscles have been un-knotted and their tissues has been unbound, it only makes sense that it would then be far easier for your client to move. This greater control over your client’s dexterity and mobility will allow them to accomplish tasks with much more comfort, efficiency and ease. Their flexibility will also likely allow them to extend their body’s capabilities.

What can I Expect from a Deep Tissue Massage Appointment?

If your client is brand new to the concept of the deep tissue massage, or even if they are unfamiliar with massage therapy in general, they might be wondering what they would be able to reasonably expect from a deep tissue massage appointment. Here is a basic guide on what to expect if your client decides it is something they want to try.


In any facet of massage therapy, a client can reasonably expect their massage therapist to be 100% professional throughout the appointment. This is not to say that the massage therapist won’t be friendly. However, a client can expect that all personal boundaries will be maintained and that their comfort and safety are always considered.


Many people wonder if they must remove all their clothing before/during a massage therapy appointment. Your client may even be wondering they are asked to be naked in the first place. It has to do with accessibility and cleanliness. While many clients seeking a deep tissue massage can wear attire that allows accesses to the affected or ailing area, there are many instances that may require more access to a wider range of body areas. That is why it is important to understand why and when clothing removal may be necessary.


Most techniques require a fair amount of lubrication for the pressures and movements to be properly and safely applied. Removing clothing before the appointment helps to avoid ruining a client’s clothing with oils and other lubricants during the massage and allows the massage therapist to devote their concentration to their technique.

Massage Transitions

Having a client remove their clothing also allows for access to all areas of the body affected and allows for seamless transition from one to the other. Clients are covered with a sheet during the massage and you will lift the sheet covering the area that needs attention. Then, once you finish, you will replace the sheet and lift it over the next area that needs work.


The atmosphere for a deep tissue massage can range from a serene spa to a more clinical facility. It all depends on what it is the client is looking for. It will likely depend on whether your client is doing this as part of a short-term physical rehabilitation or chronic treatment. The client may also decide to book an appointment with an independent massage therapist that can travel to their home.


There is a lot of apprehension around deep tissue massage. While it is hailed by many as being a key part of wellness, it is also often associated with pain and discomfort. The appointment itself will likely be uncomfortable and may be painful during certain techniques. Your client can expect that you will use your fingers and palms as with other methods, but you will also maximize forceful pressure on problem areas by using your forearms and elbows.

Pressure Changes

That kind of intense pressure can create symptoms such as mild nausea or light, temporary dizziness. Your client may also instinctively tense up in response to that kind of intrusive stimulus. It is a natural reaction to resist pain. However, that kind of tension can make it more difficult for you to reach binding spots and muscle knots.

What Skills Do I Will Need to Practice Deep Tissue Massage?

Becoming a massage therapist encompasses more techniques than just deep tissue alone. However, you may choose to advertise a specialty in deep tissue massage. You may also find that there is simply a market for deep tissue massage in your area. Whatever the case may be here are some of the things you’ll need for a long, successful career as a deep tissue massage therapist.

Vocational Training

The first step in achieving your goal of becoming a massage therapist is being trained and certified. The programs and instructors you choose for your education will help guide you through the obstacles of a massage therapy career.

Patience and People Skills

If you are hoping to make deep tissue massage a specialty you will likely be dealing with clients who are suffering. They may be temperamental, emotional, or generally coarse. Being their guide out of their miserable discomfort means having patience and sympathy for the pain they are feeling. You should be able to comfortably communicate with all kinds of different people and assist them in their pain management at the same time.

Functional Understanding of Body Movement

You can expect to receive basic anatomical training through your vocational program. Exercising and deepening that understanding will allow you to better help your clients. In most cases muscular, tissue and skeletal movement all play a role in both injury and recovery from injury. This information is specifically important to deep tissue massage work.


Deep tissue massage should not be approached as a career choice simply because it can be lucrative. If you are considering specializing in this specific method, it should be as much about helping people feel better in their own bodies as it is about paying the bills. Your compassion and knowledge will guide you in assisting your clients to the greatest degree possible.

Dedication to Education

Getting your certification is just the beginning. Once you are properly trained and officially licensed you will need to stay current in your field. This means a continuous education about new developments and discoveries both independently and formally. Fortifying your training with additional education will help you provide the best service available to all of you clients and can help set you apart from the competition in your field.

Want to Learn More?

Did this information about deep tissue massage interest you? If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 13 months with full time enrollment. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their clients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.

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