Like any massage, this type of massage should not hurt, as pain is never the goal of a massage treatment. However, some discomfort during the procedure is normal, as the muscles that are being worked on are often stressed and sore to begin with. Unlike many forms of traditional massage, deep tissue or therapeutic massage may cause an initial increase in pain and discomfort. The pain should subside a day or two after your massage, and you should feel an improvement in your symptoms.

If you have certain health conditions or are pregnant, you should consult your doctor before getting a deep tissue massage.

Pain Relief – The Mayo Clinic notes that massage therapy can be used to help manage pain. Sessions can target specific areas of pain like a sprained ankle, or they can be used to help manage the chronic pain that comes with conditions like arthritis. By using strokes that improve circulation and increase body-wide relaxation, the massage therapist can help make many painful conditions more bearable. The focus of therapeutic massage is integration and function of the layers of muscle tissue, tendons/ligaments and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints). Athletes, dancers and people with physically demanding jobs can sustain muscle damage that goes deeply into the body. This can also be the case for people who have been in accidents or who have physical limitations. Core muscles can tighten into bunches causing chronic pain and discomfort.

Don’t expect overnight relief of pain. Quite often the chronic pain and muscle damage has built up over time and it may take several sessions begin to heal. Though you will feel some immediate relief, expect to continue the therapy for a while before you decide if it’s helping you or not.

Considerations: it is important to communicate openly and honestly with your therapist. If you have any special needs and individual preferences; for example your level of comfort during the massage should be optimally maintained throughout, and if it is not you should say so. If you prefer oil to lotion or vice versa, if you do not like scented oils and lotions, whether the room is too warm or too cold, etc. These minor yet important concerns should be voiced to ensure an open and pleasant experience.

A variety of different massage methods and techniques fall into this category including but not limited to: lymphatic drainage massage, integrative fascia work and pregnancy massage. During a massage session, it is possible to have several theories/methods combined to meet the goals and needs of each client. A first time client may need to spend extra time initially, to complete an intake form detailing current and past health complaints and discuss this with the therapist. Once an agreed upon plan of action is developed with the client, the session may take on several forms. Therapeutic massage sessions may include lymphatic drainage, fascia work (connective tissue release), Swedish or Deep tissue pressure, stretching and range of motion maneuvers, cold laser therapy, acupressure points, hot/cold therapy, trigger point work, balms/liniments/essential oils, or herbal compresses. Sessions may contain a relaxation element but also includes advanced techniques for pain and chronic health issues. Massage pressures can be light to deep depending upon client comfort and the area of the body being addressed.

Pregnancy massage: According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), “Studies indicate that massage therapy performed during pregnancy can reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labor outcomes and newborn health.” Pregnancy massages aide in the relaxation of muscle tension and improving lymphatic and blood circulation through mild pressure. Swedish massage is the recommended prenatal massage method during pregnancy because it addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during pregnancy.