question about deep tissue

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aloha_student
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question about deep tissue

Post by aloha_student » Tue Oct 06, 2015 5:22 pm

We started learning deep tissue at school. Earlier, a student asked one of the teachers if there's a difference between firm pressure and deep tissue, and she said not really, that the terms are nebulous. But the teacher who's doing the deep tissue class said that deep tissue is using a combination of techniques - myofascial release, muscle energy, PNF, stretching - to access and affect deeper layers of tissue, but that it's not necessary done with super firm pressure. When LMTs say they do deep tissue work, is this what they mean? When clients ask for deep tissue, do they usually just want really firm pressure?

I'm a few months into my program, and now I'm at the point where I need to work in the school's clinic. I do up to 6 massages a day for the general public. I have a ton of clients who want very firm pressure, and their bodies are so tight it's hard to get any give in the muscle. Since I hadn't really learned many techniques, I was giving the massages they asked for, but I'm already finding (only 30 massages in!) that it's hard on me, and I also feel like they aren't getting much from having someone jam into their muscles, since they're still so tight. I started asking if they were interested in letting me try some of the gentler techniques we've been learning in deep tissue class, even though I'm not 100% sure I understand the theory of why they work. I used mostly MET and some MFR. I'm really surprised by the reactions I get - they are all saying they've never felt anything like this, they've never been so relaxed, etc. I'm happy because it's easier on me and I have a lot of repeat clients now, but I've read a number of posts on this site from LMTs who practice deep tissue or MFR and say it's wearing them out. Is this type of work really hard on the body?

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MarionFM
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Re: question about deep tissue

Post by MarionFM » Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:33 am

Others can attest or otherwise to the benefits of ultra deep tissue work.

My passion is Myofascial release. I would say that you did exactly the right thing, you backed off on the pressure when you did not get results - and then got results.

Like massage, there is more than one kind of MFR. It can be as light as Craniosacral Therapy or it can be as deep as Rolfing, or anywhere in between. I like work that is towards the lighter end of the scale, although there are times when you do go deeper to get to deeper structures. As long as you are connecting with the tissue, you are going to get some results.

If the client flinches or has to brace against the work you are doing, do as you did and lighten up. The work should never be so deep as to bruise. The work should never be such that you hurt from doing it. It sounds like you are intuitive and will great results.

As an aside, I am amazed that you are so early in your schooling and doing as much as 6 massages in a day.

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Re: question about deep tissue

Post by Jonathan » Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:22 am

A lot of my "deep tissue" questions were answered when one of my instructors said, Deep tissue is not so much about digging in with pointy elbows as it is Intent. IOW know where you are going and what you want to do when you get there. Like Marion said, listen to tissue feed back. (It might take some time to learn that language).
live & let live

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maestra
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Re: question about deep tissue

Post by maestra » Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:41 pm

I'm with MarionFM... I prefer to do some MFR to open up the tissues. I feel you have to educate clients, because where I work we see a lot of tourists. (And yes, they actually want me to be able to do 5 or even 6 hours of massage in a day... and yes that can be ALL deep tissue work, but it depends on the client & the day.) Last week I had 5 hours of deep tissue work in a day, but it helped that some of it was longer sessions and repeat clients.
As I mentioned I get a lot of clients who are tourist & think that deep tissue work is "no pain, no gain!" But I just try to share with them my philosophy.. "work smarter, not harder!" I try to help them see that there is more than one way to achieve their goal. You know that saying about "if all you've got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail?" I will tell them a good massage therapist has more than one tool in their toolbox. If I try to add a little humor ot the situation I have found the client is usually more comfortable with me and more open to trying "something new" (MFR).
Deep Tissue isn't always about delivering super firm pressure (although there are some clients that like that)... IMO it's more about intent. Your intent is to reach these deeper tissues and structures and you can generally do that best by going in gentlely and carefully rather than just trying to use force.
I like to ask clients to let me try just 5 minutes of MFR at the beginning of their session to see how their body repsonds to it. Generally within that first 5 minutes we can both tell if their body likes it or not. There are still some clients that won't be happy with anything but an elbow in their rhomboids... but thankfully they don't all require that.
Deep tissue work CAN be tiring and it CAN be hard on the body if it's all about using Your Muscles to soften Their Muscles (Force).
I've been doing it for over 19 years and a very large portion of that has been in the spa environment ironically. I've enjoyed incorporating MFR into my deep tissue sessions since 1999.
Over time you will become more intuitive about which clients are willing to "try something new" and those who want to "tune out" while you try to open up their back with your elbow. LOL
I think the most important thing is to work on learning your boundaries... where clients needs leave off and yours begin!
IMO, you shouldn't have to hurt You to help Them!
It will come with time! Hang in there! You're going to do ok!!!
Aloha nui loa! :smt055
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Re: question about deep tissue

Post by jdcan » Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:58 am

I asked the president/admin of deeptissue.com what the difference b/t deep tissue and deep Swedish is. I got an answer. It is as follows:

Deep Tissue massage differs from Swedish in that Deep Tissue Massage is specific, anatomically accurate, addresses trigger points, Myofascial restrictions and muscle restrictions, while swedish massage primarily works by increasing blood flow and retraining the nervous system, and is more general in nature (and doesn't take as much training)."


Also asked: "Does deep tissue massage always have to be alot of pressure?"

"Not really- although it is different than swedish because it does focus on releasing the muscles, which sometimes requires deep pressure. The real question is "should that deep pressure hurt, or be painful?" and the answer to that is "NO!"
If compared to swedish massage, a deep tissue session will be much more firm, and probably include more static pressure work than continuous work (as compaired to swedish massage). But many areas take fairly light pressure, and will release completely with gentle, light pressure- the front of the neck is a good example of an area that doesn't require deep pressure. It's all about the appropriate level of pressure, and being able to give that to a client. Some one trained in Deep Tissue massage should be able to give a variety of appropriate pressures, responding to what the client needs! On the other hand, if you are only trained in Swedish Massage, the practitioner may not have the training to know how to apply pressure easily, or know exactly where to do the work specifically."

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Breathe
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Re: question about deep tissue

Post by Breathe » Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:36 pm

The body's natural defenses will always be better at keeping you out, than any technique you can do to force your way in. If you can get your head around that concept, it will help you to visualize what "deep tissue" ought to be. It must always be a collaboration, with your hands saying "please, may I?" and the client's body saying "yes, thank you." For some people, their bodies will request hard pressure and intensity, and other bodies will ask you for gentle and tender melting in.

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Re: question about deep tissue

Post by aloha_student » Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:51 pm

MarionFM wrote: As an aside, I am amazed that you are so early in your schooling and doing as much as 6 massages in a day.
You're not the only one, Marion! I'm actually starting to have a hard time with body mechanics, so although this thread isn't exactly on topic, can I ask for tips? We haven't talked much about it at school, but I can tell from being in the clinic for so many hours that it's more than just trying to have good posture. Any tips would be greatly appreciated! I can already tell that my body is going to be hurting if I don't focus on this in every massage, I'm just not completely sure what to focus on. I read a lot, but it's not the same as learning from MTs.

Thank you, jdcan, for getting in touch with the deeptissue.com site! It looks great - have you done any of the online courses? Thank you for letting me know about this resource, and as always thank you to everyone else for all of your very helpful answers :)

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Re: question about deep tissue

Post by jdcan » Sun Oct 11, 2015 8:21 am

You're welcome.

I haven't taken any (newish) online courses but I did buy the DVD Neuromuscular Therapy and Deep Tissue - The Torso by Sean Reihl. This shows techniques and body mechanics. I've bought a couple of others by him, but I think this is a great start for you. The newish website is now realbodyworks.com .

BTW, I limit myself to a max of 4 60-minute massages/day. 6 is a lot!

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Re: question about deep tissue

Post by pueppi » Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:17 pm

aloha_student wrote:I'm actually starting to have a hard time with body mechanics, so although this thread isn't exactly on topic, can I ask for tips? We haven't talked much about it at school, but I can tell from being in the clinic for so many hours that it's more than just trying to have good posture. Any tips would be greatly appreciated! I can already tell that my body is going to be hurting if I don't focus on this in every massage, I'm just not completely sure what to focus on. I read a lot, but it's not the same as learning from MTs.
Hi. I highly suggest you learn how to work from a seated position, on a stool. If you can work on your technique while in student clinic, all the better.

I use a stool for all of my supine neck work, and 95% of my foot work. I also use a stool when I am going to be working the pecs and shoulder complex. If I am going to be on an arm for 20+ minutes, I will use a stool for a good portion of this work. If I am going to be working a knee for 5-10 minutes, same thing. And, it is very useful for the TFL/IT bands, if I am going to be hanging out there for any amount of time.

I use a rolling stool in my office. I love it.

They also make some very nice looking folding stools that I did not know about when I got out of school. There is this one from Custom Craftworks (http://www.massagewarehouse.com/product ... l/?F_All=Y) and this one from Earthlite (http://www.massagewarehouse.com/product ... l/?F_All=Y).

This is the "el cheap-o" one I used when I got out of school (https://www.google.com/shopping/product ... qICh1rZQVy). At some point I figured I didn't want to stand all day, and the massage therapist who worked in my office used a rolling chair in her work... so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Truly one of the smartest things I ever did.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through valleys tinkling with bells...
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maestra
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Re: question about deep tissue

Post by maestra » Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:19 pm

Breathe wrote:The body's natural defenses will always be better at keeping you out, than any technique you can do to force your way in. If you can get your head around that concept, it will help you to visualize what "deep tissue" ought to be. It must always be a collaboration, with your hands saying "please, may I?" and the client's body saying "yes, thank you." For some people, their bodies will request hard pressure and intensity, and other bodies will ask you for gentle and tender melting in.
Breathe~ well said!
“Try to be like the turtle -- at ease in your own shell” - Bill Copeland

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