Written by Joslin Hughson for InJoy Wellness Massage Center
Many people know of massage’s immediate relaxing and soothing benefits, but are there serious benefits to massage therapy as well? Now labeled as a form of “alternative medicine,” massage therapy is actually one of the oldest forms of healing known to humankind.
Deep tissue massage (DTM) is a form of massage that involves using firm pressure and deep strokes to stimulate muscles that are located deeper in the body. This form of massage is most beneficial to those that suffer from chronic pain as the techniques used in DTM are designed to break up scar tissue and muscle knots. DTM is used to treat a wide range of conditions. According to Verywell Health, some of those conditions are sciatica, fibromyalgia, and low back pain.
The Scientific World Journal published a study in 2014 titled, Deep Tissue Massage and Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs for Low Back Pain: A Prospective Randomized Trial, which covered the benefits of DTM for people that suffer from chronic lower back pain. The study concluded that DTM helped reduce overall back pain in patients by a significant amount. The study included a sample group of patients that were being treated with anti-inflammatory drugs combined with deep tissue massage, and also a sample group that were simply being treated with massage therapy. Both of the groups completed the study suffering significantly less back pain than was previously being experienced. This suggests that deep tissue massage alone can be instrumental when it comes to fighting pain and that the aid of drugs is not always necessary to combat pain in the body.
In a study titled, A comparison of the effects of deep tissue massage and therapeutic massage on chronic low back pain, the benefits of deep tissue massage were tested along with other styles of therapeutic massage. “Therapeutic massage” includes many different types of massage, and it is defined as massage that is practiced for the intention of ridding the body of stress or pain. Deep tissue massage is considered a form of therapeutic massage. The study found that, “deep tissue massage was statistically significant better therapy than [other] therapeutic massage”. This suggests that for pain management, deep tissue massage is one of the best forms of therapeutic massage. According to an article posted by Health 24, not only does deep tissue massage relieve symptoms in the moment, it also helps reduce pain in the long term.
Besides the physical benefits of DTM, there are many mental benefits as well. The article by Health 24 goes on to say that a study showed positive results for children with Attention Deficit Disorder. After a month of weekly massages, the children with ADD were noticeably less hyperactive in class. According to an article published by Fremont College, DTM has been proven to boost oxytocin and serotonin levels while simultaneously reducing stress hormones. This allows the person getting the massage to fall into a deep, relaxed state which can decrease stress, anxiety and depression.
What we can draw from all of these studies is that there are many benefits to deep tissue massage (and other types of massage therapy), for both the mind and body. Massage therapy is a great way to ease stress, reduce physical pain, and is simply a good part of any self care routine.