Physiotherapy is a scientific approach to maintaining and improving health, and physical conditioning, with a focus on strengthening and stretching muscles and ligaments. Physiotherapy is also a crucial tool in preventive medicine.
Generally, physiotherapy involves the use of therapeutic exercise and physical manipulation. Deep tissue massage is often incorporated into physiotherapy treatment plans along with other techniques such as acupuncture, in order to increase the effectiveness of treatment.
Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage physically manipulates muscle and other soft tissue using a range of techniques including kneading, tapping, vibrations, and tapping on areas of pain or tightness. However deep tissue massage does differ from other forms of massage in its techniques and targets, consequently it feels very different to other forms of massage.
Unlike say, Swedish massage, deep tissue massage isn’t always relaxing. It requires greater pressure, and can be initially uncomfortable, if not downright painful – but the reward for this pain is greater physical and mental benefits.
Benefits of deep tissue massage
Greater pressure allows the massage therapist to target the deepest layers of muscle and tendons, which are not reached by other forms of massage. The benefits of deep tissue massage include:
Deep tissue massage and physiotherapy
Deep tissue massage complements other forms of physiotherapy. It can be utilized before, during or after other treatments in order to aid in recovery or as a way to prep patients for more dynamic treatments which require the flexibility and mobility that deep tissue massage can provide. Ask your physiotherapist about the most effective way to incorporate deep tissue massage into your physiotherapy routine.
Deep tissue massage before physiotherapy or exercise
Deep tissue massage works to increase mobility, which increases the patient’s ability to perform the movements, stretches and exercises required for more dynamic physiotherapy sessions. Generally, you would not want a deep tissue massage right before exercising since it will leave you sore and stiff in the short term. Once the immediate soreness subsides you’ll experience the pain relief, flexibility and mobility needed to engage in physiotherapist-directed exercise.
After physiotherapy or exercise
As you stretch and strengthen your muscles with exercise you may cause your muscles to begin to tighten. Stretching is recommended after strenuous exercise, but traditional stretching does not reach deep into the muscles. Deep tissue massage manipulates the muscle fibers, stretching them in all directions.
Stretching, both traditional and through deep tissue massage, not only increases range of motion but it also facilitates muscle growth by stretching the fascia which is a fibrous membrane which acts as a sort of muscle sheath. By doing so deep tissue massage, in conjunction with exercise will build muscle faster, making it an ideal treatment for athletes.