What to Expect With Deep Tissue Massage (Plus Pros and Cons)

It’s no news that continuous engagement in particular physical activity, whether strenuous or not, could result in muscle soreness, pain, stress and strain, which by extension creates different forms of discomfort.

One of the tested ways to relieve such health related discomforts is the massage therapy, known as deep tissue massage. In this article, we discuss benefits that derived from deep tissue massage, alongside potential side effects and risks.

What is deep tissue massage?

Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that involves the manipulation of muscle tissues using the fingers, knuckles, fist, and elbows, by the application of pressure. This is done by an experienced therapist, during which he or she slowly strokes specific parts of the body in an attempt to break up scar tissue in the deep layers of muscle (fascia), and break down adhesions in the muscle.

These adhesions if not broken down can restrict optimal flow of blood through and into such parts of the body. Experienced therapists when carrying out massage on the body of their clients ensure that the tempo of the massage increases slowly and progressively in order to warm up your muscles and get it prepared for such activity.

Benefits of deep tissue massage

While there are vast numbers of benefits that can be derived from most massage therapies, there are particular benefits that accrue those that undergo deep tissue massage, and a few of the most predominant ones are highlighted below.

Relieves pain

Pains that are as a result of stiff necks, plantar fascilitis, sports injuries, fibromyalgia, scialatica, can be treated with deep tissue massage. In fact, series of research has proven that deep tissue massage is the most cost effective means of treating chronic back pains.

So if you know someone, either a neighbour or family member who complains a lot about any chronic muscle pain, however you feel may not have sufficient money to find or employ the services of other medical treatments. However, you know now that such a person has a very effective alternative.

Facilitates speedy recovery from muscle related injuries

For someone with bone or muscle injuries a massage of this type will help in relaxing constricted and twisted muscles.
Athletes who sustain injuries are most likely to incorporate this style of massage as part of their treatment protocols as it helps release toxins from the muscles.

Prenatal health of mother and child

During pregnancy, for most women, muscles around the pelvic and legs region become overly stressed, and as a result, becomes tight, causing them a lot of pain and other feelings of discomfort. Having a massage when pregnant helps fix that.

Deep tissue massage helps ease, and relaxes the muscles and in turn enables the release of cortisol, a toxin also known as the stress hormone, which release mitigates possible feelings of depression and anxiety. When not released, its accumulation could cause varying detrimental issues, ranging from reduced weight and size of foetus, heightened levels of fear and painful anxiety in the mother.

Tissue massage sore shoulders and back
Tissue massage sore shoulders and back

Possible side effects of deep tissue massage

We know that to most things that have beneficial uses, there could, in some cases, be possible risks as well.

Here we would be learning of a few ways this style of massage could pose certain risks when undergone.

Release of blood clots

Blood clots in the real sense are actually a way our bodies respond injuries or inflammations, it is a biological process initiated by the body, in order to reduce and stop the loss blood, so you’d observe the thickening of blood around the affected area from liquid to something thicker (or semi-solid). This however, can turn out to have detrimental effect on the individual’s system if it forms in the wrong place. Even worse if it forms like that, and is made by any physical force or exertion, such as the deep tissue massage, to move.

This usually occurs when the therapist is unaware that the patient suffers from blood clots. The release of blood clots into the blood stream could cause health issues in the body of the patient.

Tissue wear and tear

This isn’t so much of an issue in most cases. This is because the body of the patient isn’t used to such muscle manipulations. He or she is expected to feel okay again after one or two days.

You can’t grit and gnash your teeth as you would during a deep tissue massage, and not realise such intense pressure on your muscles, aside being helpful in relaxing and separating muscle tissues, will also wear some tissues out too and should create the discomfort you may feel. Not to worry though, all of that is worth it. Isn’t it?

Complication of pre-existing health conditions

Deep tissue massage performed at the site of open wounds, blood clots or bone fractures can cause serious complications. In addition to persons with weak bones, from bone related diseases such as; osteoporosis otherwise called brittle-bone disease, could have their bones further compromised by deep tissue massage.

While we acknowledge that massage is particularly helpful to patients dealing with (or treating) cancer, the therapist should be careful not to direct contact with the tumour site. Any carelessness of such kind could cause complications. In rare cases, pregnant women could experience injury or induced labour as a result of massage therapy. People on blood thinners or with low blood platelet counts may experience side effects from massage. This is specifically bruising and pain.

It is advised that you are sure of the state of your health before undergoing deep tissue massage. This will prevent avoidable complications.

Risk of fracture

The above happens in very rare cases when pressure is applied excessively.


From all of what you have learned, it’s obvious there are a lot of things to expect from a deep tissue massage. Just so you enjoy only the benefits, it is advisable to be very sincere with your masseuse. Speak with your therapists regarding your current health before deep tissue massage is performed on you.

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