What are Some Deep Tissue Massage Techniques?

client receiving a deep tissue massage

Do you have an interest in becoming a massage therapist? Massage therapy is a fantastic, holistic based modality, focusing on healing a client’s body, mind, and spirit. And, this industry is projected to grow 32 percent over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Massage therapists utilize a variety of massage techniques to alleviate their client’s aches and pains, as well as promote healing and spiritual restoration. So, what are some of the techniques you learn during a massage therapy program? We first look at one of the most requested techniques for those suffering from painful disorders and chronic pain, deep tissue massage.

What are Some Deep Tissue Massage Techniques?

Deep tissue massage has evolved from Swedish massage. Swedish massage therapy is widely considered to be one of the most effective and popular therapeutic techniques. Many clients book an appointment for a deep tissue massage for a variety of reasons. These massage techniques were initially developed to address sports injuries, strains, and repetitive motion injuries. Deep tissue massage techniques are intended to restore health and encourage healing, as well as promote a client’s overall wellness through methodically applying pressure and movement to target a client’s connective tissues and muscles.

While it sounds concise, Swedish massage therapy requires purposeful movement throughout the session, and has some unique differences from a regular deep tissue massage. Massage therapists utilize a series of techniques during Swedish massage, including effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, friction and vibration to help the client achieve relief and relaxation.

Technique #1: Effleurage

Effleurage consists of long, gliding motions across the client’s body, with purposeful strokes varying in intensity and pressure. These movements help to elongate the muscle, therefore reducing muscle tension and providing relief from aches and pains.

Technique #2: Petrissage

Petrissage consists of applying deep pressure in the form of kneading and wringing the client’s skin to effectively target the affected area. This technique relies on a massage therapist utilizing the palms of their hands to deliver the intended pressure.

Technique #3: Tapotement

Tapotement is another essential component of delivering an effective Swedish massage. This is the technical term for the rhythmic and repeated striking of the hands onto the body of the client and is performed to relax and loosen stiff muscles, “awaken” the body, and loosen trapped lymphatic build up within the back. This movement is a primary component of an effective Swedish massage therapy session and is dependent upon maintaining momentum and speed.

Technique #4: Friction

Another important component of the Swedish massage technique is friction. Friction is achieved by using the thumb and fingers to apply deep pressure in circular movements, helping to promote relaxation and loosen any built-up tension within the muscles.

Technique #5: Vibration

Vibration is the final component of a well performed Swedish massage and is achieved by applying trembling or rocking motions throughout the client’s body. This movement is thought to be effective in breaking up any trapped holding patterns in the muscles which may be detrimental to the client’s posture or mobility. Vibration is also an effective way to loosen any trapped tension or negative energy within the client’s body.

Other Techniques Utilized in Deep Tissue Massage

While the Swedish technique is one of the most often requested techniques during a therapy session, massage therapists may choose to utilize a deeper tissue technique featuring a variety of other purposeful movements and manipulations, such as cross fiber friction, active release technique, trigger point therapy and myofascial release.

Technique #6: Cross Fiber Friction

This deep tissue massage therapy technique is often used for clients who are healing from serious injuries. While scar tissue is necessary to repair the fibers and muscles around the site of injury, it can become tough and restrict movement and functionality, if it is not pliable. Cross fiber friction works towards reducing fibrosis and promoting pliability and flexibility. This technique is performed by administering a non-oiled stroke across the site of injury to create friction against the muscle, tendon, or ligament.

Technique #7: Active Release Technique

This manually performed therapeutic technique is another effective way to promote the healing of rigid or restrictive scar tissue through the application of deep pressure onto the site of tenderness, while the muscles repeatedly loosen and constrict at the site of injury. This technique is great for those who have sustained repetitive muscle injuries, as well as cumulative injuries.

Technique #8: Trigger Point Therapy

Manually applied trigger point therapeutic techniques are another feature of deep tissue massage. This is achieved by first locating the spot of tension or tightness through manual manipulation, and then using one’s fingers to press firmly into the targeted area. By repeating this movement several times, the tightened muscle becomes loose and less rigid, relieving pain and releasing any built-up tension.

Technique #9: Myofascial Massage

Often thought of as one of the most effective deep massage therapy techniques, myofascial massage involves the use of knuckles and closed fists to cause tension to release from various points in the body. While this technique may cause some soreness immediately after, myofascial massage is one of the most effective ways to combat long term pain and bothersome symptoms associated with traumatic injuries.

How Do You Learn the Different Massage Techniques?

Those interested in learning more about massage techniques and starting a career as a professional massage therapists can enroll in a massage therapy program and work towards earning a diploma. This program will provide the training and education needed to enjoy a career in this field.

What are the Benefits of a Massage Therapy Diploma Program?

While enrolled in a massage therapy program, students will receive hands-on training and instruction in a student run massage spa setting, which is overseen by knowledgeable professionals with meaningful and relevant career experience. Students will also learn a variety of massage techniques in addition to Swedish and deep tissue. They will have time to learn all the skills necessary to work in a variety of professional settings and will form meaningful bonds and friendships with other likeminded professionals.

Final Thoughts

Those who are considering a new career path should consider training for a career in the massage therapy industry. Professional massage therapists enjoy a dynamic workplace environment, flexible work hours, the opportunity to open their own practice, engage in meaningful networking with other professionals, and a fulfilling career in making a positive difference in the lives of their clients. Take the first step and learn more about the massage therapy program at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Start your journey toward a rewarding career in massage therapy.

Massage Therapy Program

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. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients 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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