Deep Tissue Massage: More than just pressure

One of the most common misconceptions about Deep Tissue Massage is it's all about PRESSURE.

Many people think only a Strong, Male Massage Therapist can provide a really good deep tissue massage.  As a strong, male massage therapist this greatly improves the amount of clients I see.

There are, however, plenty of female therapists who can provide amazing Deep Tissue Massage.  There are several factors that come into play.  When a Massage Therapist uses proper body mechanics they can use their body weight when leaning into a massage.

A small female may only have 100-120 pounds of body weight to lean into a massage.  So how do some of them manage to provide extremely deep massage?

The answer lies in Specificity.

The more specific the massage therapist is when applying their deep tissue massage techniques, the deeper the massage feels to the client.

For example: If you place the flat edge of a knife on your arm and push in to yourself, you will feel pressure over a broad area.  If you take that knife and place the point of it on your arm, you will feel pressure over a very specific area.  The amount of force you apply can be the same, but the sensation is vastly different.


Recently, I did a deep, specific massage session on a client's neck in the downtown Orlando area.  She mentioned she had been going to a different therapist for a few months but had not been getting much relief.  After doing an intake interview to rule out any potential contraindications I began a session that focused on the upper half of her body, with approximately 30 minutes devoted to neck work.

When I do deep tissue massage for pain relief, I am very specific.  The pressure I apply can be minimal all the way to my full body weight behind a specific stroke.  The main factor is the specificity which I use.  I also make sure to warm up the tissue I'm working on, and go very slow with my deeper strokes, allowing the body to let go, rather than forcing it to.

On this person's neck, I was able to use passive and active range of motion techniques along with trigger point therapy and myofascial massage techniques to break down the adhesions and restrictions in her neck.  The client felt much looser after the appointment and had a dramatic increase in range of motion of her neck.  She mentioned the other massage therapist she went to was nowhere near as specific as I was.  She always felt relaxed after, but never like she did after the massage she just had.

Many massage therapists will spend a few minutes on the neck, or use broad tools such as the palm of their hands.  While I do use these, they are merely warm up techniques to be able to access the deeper, and often times, more restricted musculature.

After speaking with many different massage therapists, I believe lack of specificity comes from a massage therapists lack of knowledge and / or lack of confidence with the region of the body they are providing pain relief massage for.  After working with professional teams and organizations for over 11 years, I have developed a large amount of skill, experience and confidence in my Deep Tissue & Sports Massage abilities.

If you're in the Central Florida area and want to get some great deep tissue massage or sports massage for yourself or traveling team or performance company get in touch with me through the Contact page and set something up.

Have a Great Day!

-Michael Ames, LMT

Deep Tissue & Sports Massage Specialist