22 Sep 2011 The deep tissue myth
Who said that Deep Tissue Massage has to be painful to be effective?
In massage, the tissue should be accessed slowly and warmed up thoroughly before attempting to go deeper. At most times, you won’t need to feel that the pressure has increased, although it probably would have.
If you’re wondering whether a warm-up is really necessary, here’s why it is. Some therapists talk about the ‘gel-sol’ theory: when the tissue is approached fast and hard, it resists by solidifying. As a consequence, the therapist has to press harder and harder, and the tissue experiences more pain. The pain is likely to startle you (you might even hold your breath) and create tension in your body and mind. A vicious circle. The overall treatment – even though it feels like a battle – might still work after all, and as a consequence those who have had this experience can easily come to the conclusion that they have to feel pain in order to get rid of tension.
No pain, no gain? Well… Yes, occasionally your therapist will include trigger point work or remedial techniques in your treatment. Some of these can be a little uncomfortable. But once the area is warmed up, deeper layers of tissue are more accessible and your treatment can be easier to take. Going slower will also make a difference: the same pressure at a slower pace is less likely to hurt. Either way, having deep tissue treatment means having a treatment of the deeper tissue – not necessarily the equivalent of deeper pressure on the tissue!
This is why, with Akana, you will have a tailored treatment. If, for example, an area of tension on your back needs trigger point work, your therapist will apply pressure on the relevant spot. Always tell your therapist if you experience pain during your treatment. Your therapist will work intuitively, as well as by communicating with you, which will most probably result in them applying different pressures to different areas – a treatment tailored to your needs.
Deep Tissue Massage is a popular treatment. Each of us is different, however, so it’s sometimes worth having a go at another of Akana’s treatments. All of them can potentially get you to relax and let go of tension. Talk to your therapist if you need help with your decision. For me, soothing treatments with long, sweeping movements like those in Abhyanga (Ayurvedic massage) work best. What is your favourite Akana treatment?