Deep tissue massage refers to the various techniques and massage styles that focus on correcting the deeper layers of muscles and fascia in the body. Fascia refers to the connective tissues that surround, bind or separate muscles, organs and other soft parts of the body.
Some of these techniques focus on the physical release of tension or “bonds” in the muscle tissues. Other deep tissue techniques combine bodywork with other means of releasing psychological tension in the body.
Several deep tissue massage techniques are named after the people who developed them. Examples of these techniques are;
This deep tissue technique is named after Dr. Ida Rolf. Rolfing, which is a registered trademark, is a deep “connective” tissue massage created by Dr. Rolf, a biochemist by trade, who despite great opposition being a women in the field of science furthered her study of the body at the Rockeffeller Institute.
Her drive to find solutions to her own health problems led her to experiment with many different ways of healing the body including homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic work and yoga.
The Trager Approach
The Trager Approach, which is a registered trademark, is named after Dr. Milton Trager. The Trager Approach uses gentle “non-intrusive” movements of the body to release deep rooted mental and physical habits.
These patterns or “habits” are often the direct result of injury, illness, or extreme mental or physical stress. This deep tissue technique leaves the client with a feeling of deep relaxation, mental clarity, and increased mobility and range of motion.
There are two different aspects of The Trager Approach. One, the client is passive during the massage and the other the client is very active in the massage. The passive technique is referred to as table-work and the more active technique is referred to as Mentastics.
Typical sessions usually last between 60-90 minutes and require the use of no oils or special lotions. Table-work sessions require the client to lay comfortably on a padded mat or table. The practitioner or therapist will then move the client in ways that are very natural to the client allowing him/her the feeling of effortlessly moving in the suggested patterns. These movements are never forced so the client feels no pain or discomfort during the session.
Mentastics are simple and active “self induced” movements used to maintain or reinforce the natural movements experienced by the client during the table-work sessions. Mentastics usually become a part of a clients daily or regular routine that they can use to maintain peek physical and mental health, relieving stress and other deep seated patterns.
Hellerwork Structural Integration
Following in the vein of Dr. Ida Rolf, Hellerwork structural integration seeks to combine deep tissue techniques with movement education/self-awareness . This approach is consistent with the belief that it is impossible to separate the mind, body and spirit. This deep tissue approach was created by Joseph Heller.
After a typical Hellerwok session, the client is usually left with an increased self- awareness of his/her body and a feeling of mental, physical and emotional balance.
Hellerwork structural integration encourages the client to make the connection between their patterns of habitual movement and proper body alignment. Hellerwork seeks to restore our body’s natural balance from the inside out.
The structural balance of the body is achieved through the release and reorganization of muscles and the tissues surrounding them using a variety of deep tissue massage techniques. When the body comes into alignment, chronic pain and tension disappear and a sense of ease and comfort replaces the stress and strain formerly experienced in the body as a result of the habitual movement pattern.
Movement education is incorporated into the massage to enhance ease of motion, allowing the client to develop a deeper awareness of their body and how it can and “should feel” when properly aligned.
This new “self-awareness” achieved by the client is an important aspect of Hellerwork structural integration. As the body “releases” these habitual patterns of tension and stress, improved ways of feeling and moving are made aware to the client.
Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage
The following are just a few of benefits of deep tissue massage: