Deep tissue or firm pressure massage?


Deep tissue massage therapy is the top treatment booked at Ebor Sulis. But, often, it’s not actually what’s required or needed. Here’s how to know the difference between deep tissue and a firm massage treatment, and advice on choosing the right massage treatment for you.

What is deep tissue massage therapy?

The primary aim of deep tissue massage is to stretch and mobilise what’s called the fascia – the connective tissue which surrounds, supports and is attached to the muscles, bones, nerves and organs. It’s commonly used to break down scar tissue or adhesions from injury or chronic issues which means working down to the deepest layers of muscle and tissue to improve the functionality of the area.


Is deep tissue massage painful?

I always correct people who believe that a massage has to be painful in order for it to be doing some good. It doesn’t, read my blog on that here. Pain is a signal for the body and, as therapists, our goal is to reduce pain, not cause it! Having said that, deep tissue can be uncomfortable; I often use my thumbs, knuckles and elbows to get down into certain areas and work those adhesions out. That comes with a certain amount of pressure and discomfort.


Do I need a deep tissue massage?

Honestly? Probably not. When clients book a deep tissue massage, I always ask them whether they’ve had one before and why they think that’s what they need. Usually the answer is related to feeling like they need some tension and ‘knots’ working out of a specific area like the shoulders. Whilst deep tissue massage could be used here, there are other techniques that can provide the same effect without being as draining, so my answer is almost always to explain that a Swedish body massage with firm pressure would be the right course of treatment to take.

massage therapist in Bramley


So why is deep tissue massage booked over Swedish massage?

My decade of experience has taught me that this is usually down to poor communication between therapist and client and the persisting association of Swedish massage being more like a back rub than anything substantial. The pressure of all massage treatments should be guided by the client where possible – if a firm pressure is your preference tell your therapist. Prefer something a little less intense, or have areas that are hyper-sensitive? Tell your therapist. A good therapist will ask and look for signs of discomfort or pain and adjust pressure accordingly.


What massage treatment should I book?

I’d say the 90% of the deep tissue massages bookings at the clinic are made by people who would prefer a firmer massage and rarely do they need a treatment as intense as a deep tissue. If in doubt, call us or, if booking online, choose our relaxing body massage option and pop a note on the booking to tell us what you need. In addition, our new client consultations will help establish the right course of treatment action for you.

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