Deep tissue massage, as the name suggests, uses special techniques to work into the deeper muscles of the body, helping to release stress and tension which has been held in the body for long periods of time. While many of the standards massage techniques are the same, the application varies slightly. A few tips can show you how.
Begin a deep tissue massage by applying heat to the body, focusing on areas which need to be worked, such as old injuries, sore stiff muscles or over large muscles which are causing stress to the body. You can use heating pads, heated ceramic coil pads or other techniques; however, make sure that the heat source does not burn the skin and that it sets on target areas for at least 10 minutes but no more than 15 minutes.
Warm up the body a bit further with long, flowing motions, preparing the muscles for deeper touch. While relaxation massage keeps the motions of the warm up smooth and slow, deep tissue often incorporates quicker movements and kneading during warm up to help soften the superficial muscles and warm the deeper muscles.
Slow down your motions as you begin to work into deeper, more sensitive tissues. Locate the specific muscle or ligament you would like to target and then shorten the muscle if possible. For example, if you working on deep calf muscles, you can point the toes of the foot to shorten the muscle.
Work into the muscle with circular motions, vibration and friction, warming up the deeper tissues. When you are ready to work even deeper, lengthen the muscles, placing it in a gentle stretch.
Use longitudinal friction to help increase flexibility and relieve general stiffness in the muscle. Use cross fiber friction to help break up scar tissue or lesions caused by recent injury. Use wide vibration to help relax the muscle or direct vibration to release pressure points. Never work deeply on one area of the body for more than about 5 minutes to prevent injuring the delicate tissues.
Finish the massage with long, sweeping strokes towards the heart to help flush toxins and then apply ice to any area that you have worked extensively. Again, ice should be left in place for no longer than 15 minutes.