18:27Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage uses slow, firm strokes and pressure to ease and release tension deep in your muscles.
What is deep tissue massage?
Deep tissue massage features in most forms of massage to some degree, including:
* Swedish massage
* Thai massage
* Sports/muscular massage
* Lymphatic drainage
Deep tissue massage is a particularly effective massage for people with muscular pain. Here are a few of the less mainstream forms of deep tissue treatments that you might not have come across.
Cupping Nobly exhibited by Gwyneth Paltrow in a backless dress, this traditional Chinese medicine practice temporarily leaves raised, red cup-shaped 'wheals' on your skin. A heated cup is placed on your body and a vacuum is created which sucks up your skin. This suction drains excess fluids and toxins from the muscle tissue, and stimulates the nervous system, and brings blood flow to your muscles and skin. The immediate effects look a bit alarming (see Gwyneth) but it is a deeply relaxing treatment.
Cross-fibre friction This specialised massage treatment is used to treat chronic muscular tension, working across the fibres of the muscles
Trigger point therapy This treatment puts pressure on certain trigger points, temporarily stopping blood flow to a particular part of the body, and then releasing it, flooding that body part with fresh blood. It sounds weird and it feels weird too; you realise how powerful your blood is when it surges back into your arteries and the limb feels suddenly warm and strong. This treatment kick-starts your circulation as it pours and pumps fresh oxygen around your body. This technique is also a feature of Thai massage.
Balinese and Indonesian massage These include deep tissue massage which works on the myofascia (see below); the treatment combines a variety of massage techniques, reflexology, acupressure and aromatherapy and is highly effective in healing sports injuries.
Myofascial release Fascia is a tough tissue that surrounds every muscle, bone, organ, nerve, and blood vessel in your body. Myofascial release is a stretching technique that releases tension and therefore pain deep in the body. It is used by physiotherapists to treat patients with some soft tissue problems. It is also called "connective tissue massage".
What is a deep tissue massage good for?
Deep tissue massage is often used to treat people who are recovering from accidents, and for sports injuries as it increases blood circulation in muscles that are underused, relieves chronic muscle tension throughout the body, and can also break down scar tissue and "knots" deep in the muscles.
Before you go
* are, or think you might be, pregnant
* have a history of heart or respiratory problems
* have problems with your joints
* have any skin allergies or conditions
* have recently had surgery, or are prone to or recovering from injury
* you have any other medical condition, or are receiving treatment of any kind as this might affect the kind of treatment you can have, or on what areas of your body the therapist can work on.
Deep tissue massage is also not recommended for people with acute or long-term mental health problems. As with any massage, it's a good idea to avoid big meals and alcohol beforehand. You should also drink plenty of water before and after the massage.
What to expect from a deep tissue massage
Depending on how you feel and the therapist or treatment centre you go to, you will either need to wear loose-fitting comfortable clothes or just a towel. Oils may be used, but they are unlikely to be aromatherapy oils. This is not a massage where you expect soft lighting and music either.
The length of a deep-tissue massage session or course will vary depending on what you need. A session is unlikely to last more than an hour, and a course will probably include about six sessions spaced over a few weeks or months, unless you are a professional sportsperson.