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Deep Pressure vs. Deep Tissue: Which is Right for You?

There is general confusion about Deep Pressure vs. Deep Tissue massage. Many individuals seeking massage to alleviate pain automatically assume they need the maximum amount of pressure to get the job done. It is also assumed Deep Tissue work will be a very painful experience. This, however, is not necessarily the case. Let’s begin by defining the two very different types of massage.

Deep Pressure is just that: any type of massage that is performed with more, or deeper, pressure. For example, you could get a Swedish massage (primarily used to relax) and ask that a heavier hand be used to take it from ‘light’ to ‘medium’ to ‘firm’ pressure. Deep pressure massage is also sustained throughout the entire massage session.

Deep Tissue massage, on the other hand, is normally only used on specific areas. A Deep Tissue massage is slow and through; working through the muscle tissues layer by layer. Giving increased attention to ‘knots’ and trigger points along the way, the therapist can release the deepest layers of muscle tissue and address the underlying problem that is causing pain.

So that means Deep Tissue massage is painful, right? The answer is: it shouldn’t be. Don’t get me wrong, there will be some discomfort as your therapist works on areas that are already sore and tender to the touch. It is usually described as a ‘hurt so good’ feeling and should never go above a 6 or 7 on a scale of 1-10. A well trained therapist will warm the muscle up and prevent the pain from reaching your max.

No matter which type of massage you choose, make sure you talk with your massage therapist about the goals you have for the massage. If you are both on the same page your massage will give you the results you desire. Enjoy!

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