Deep Tissue Massage Benefits & Risks

We know the feeling of sitting at your desk nine to eight hours per day or at your computer at home. How often do you get up and stretch? When was the last time you dedicated yourself to a yoga class or at home lengthening?

Maybe we got it all wrong, and you are an athlete!

Then your story is different. However, we often hear about people hurting themselves, tearing their ACL, having tight hips, or tense shoulders. Does this sound like you? Then it is time to take care of your body post-work-out!

We have decided to create this blog for you about Deep Tissue Massage Benefits & Risks to help you look after your body on the musculoskeletal level. We will cover the brief history of Deep Tissue Massage, who is at risk during Deep Tissue Massage, the benefits, and side effects.

The invitation is to stick around for the whole blog. However, if you find yourself needing to skim through to the parts that you find most valuable for you at this time, then feel free to use the navigation to help direct you to the section of the blog you want.

Table Of Contents:

1. The History Of Deep Tissue Massage
2. Risks Of Deep Tissue Massage
   2a.) Who Should NOT Get A Deep Tissue Massage
   2b.) The 8 Side Effects Of Deep Tissue Massage
3. What Happens Before The Massage?
4. What Is Deep Tissue Massage?
5. What Are The Benefits Of Deep Tissue Massage?
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1. The History Of Deep Tissue Massage

Are you ever curious about WHO discovered massage in the first place? Who one day decided that they were going to try working on the body this way. The answer is the Egyptians and Greeks are who discovered the healing power of massage.

Later in the 1800s, the concept was then adopted in Canada and The United States.

As time went on, the practice of massage began to flourish and grow. In 1970, Therese Phimmer established solid guidelines on Deep Tissue Massage. Her book, “Muscles Your Invisible Bonds,” became the “how-to” manual for many first emerging massage therapists.

Therese Phimmer’s journey began through daily deep tissue massage to help reverse paralysis in her legs, which encouraged her to become a trained massage therapist.

Phimmer wrote her book in 24 hours and had it sent to a publisher. In 1971 she opened the Deep Muscle Therapy School and taught her first class! She died on March 11th, 1980 and was able to train 73 therapists.

2a. Who Should NOT Get A Deep Tissue Massage

Deep Tissue Massage is recommended amongst individuals who engage in physical activity such as running or those suffering from injury and chronic pain. However, if you consider yourself as somebody who has little tolerance to pain, then Swedish Massage may be a better option for you.

Deep Tissue Massage and Swedish Massage are different, although some elements remain similar. The two massages, Deep Tissue and Swedish, use the same strokes, BUT they vary significantly in the amount of pressure used.

Deep Tissue Massage is NOT safe for everybody. If you have any of these symptoms or conditions present, then Deep Tissue Massage may not be suitable for you at this time.

  1. If you have blood clots or clotting disorder.

  2. If you are taking blood thinners.

  3. If you have a bleeding disorder.

  4. If you have been diagnosed with cancer or undergoing cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation.

People with Osteoporosis and Cancer that has spread to the bones should avoid Deep Tissue Massage because it can cause fractures in your bones.

If you have an open wound or a skin infection, then reschedule your appointment. This way, you avoid developing a new infection and prevent the condition from getting worse.

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2b. The 8 Side Effects Of Deep Tissue Massage

Lingering Pain

Muscle aches and fatigue is common after a deep tissue massage. The movement of muscle fibres causes stimulation that can often result in pain. If your pain lasts more than a few days, then consult your physician.


Headaches and migraines after a Deep Tissue Massage are not uncommon. The possible reasons for your head pain may be due to the odd positioning of your head during the massage or the massage on your neck/upper back.


During your Deep Tissue Massage, your body releases tension and stress, which contributes to feeling groggy and sleepy after your massage.


Inflammation is a result of constant stimulation during the massage. However, it can also result from an older injury or excessive pressure applied during your Deep Tissue Massage.

Redness or Heat

It is typically not serious to experience redness or feeling heat after your Deep Tissue Massage.

Since Deep Tissue Massage is about applying pressure, this rubbing can cause these types of effects.

The feeling of heat after a massage can be a good sign indicating that your muscles are responding to treatment and are healing themselves.


Nausea is not an average response; however, it can signify that your body is releasing toxins. The best thing to do in this scenario is drink water and get rest.


Bruising shouldn’t be a factor after a Deep Tissue Massage from an experienced professional. We recommend talking to your massage therapist about any pre-existing conditions before treatment.

Aggravating An Old Injury

The pressure associated with the methods of Deep Tissue Massage can stimulate old wounds. Communication is vital. This way, you can avoid reigniting old injuries or creating new ones.

3. What Happens Before The Massage?

So you scheduled your first Deep Tissue Massage. What’s next?

Your massage therapist will ask you questions before you start the treatment. They will ask about your problem areas and whether the treatment will focus on the body as a whole or in just one spot.

Communicating with your therapist is essential to ensure no further injury occurs.

During The Massage

Your massage therapist will ask you to lie on your stomach and under the sheet. Your level of undress is based on your comfort. However, the area that needs work will need to be exposed.

Your therapist will begin the massage with a light warm-up touch and use deep kneading and stroking with varying/intense pressure.

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4. What Is Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep Tissue Massage is a type of massage used to treat chronic pain in individuals and sports-related injuries.

The techniques used during this massage are a combination of kneading and manipulating the tissue with the palms, fingers, elbows, and forearms. The elbows and forearms are used to increase the pressure of the massage.

If you struggle with tight hamstrings or shoulder muscles due to working out and running, then the Deep Tissue Massage is the perfect choice to target those inner layers of the muscles.

The importance of Deep Tissue Massage is to treat tendon and muscle injuries, pain, and stiffness in major muscle groups and joints.

5. What Are The Benefits Of Deep Tissue Massage?

Aside from the benefits for sports-related injuries, Deep Tissue Massage can also help aid in healing when it comes to chronic pain, our mental health, and digestion.

In other words, when you are getting a Deep Tissue Massage, you are benefiting from the physical and psychological relief it can bring.

For instance, a Deep Tissue Massage can have tremendous impacts on your mental health, reducing stress after a long day, anxiety, and depression. The Deep Tissue Massage can offer coping mechanisms and relaxation. With that comes better sleep and an increase in serotonin.

A Deep Tissue Massage is also beneficial for those suffering from chronic constipation. After a back or full-body massage, your body feels relaxed, helping alleviate the symptoms of constipation.

You can significantly reduce pain with a Deep Tissue Massage versus other therapeutic massages. Since the treatment is focused on the problem areas, your therapist can target your pain spots and where you need attention the most.

Deep Tissue Massage can increase sports performance in athletes because it breaks up the scar tissue while increasing the range of motion. If you are a runner, this is especially beneficial to you!

Aside from the increase in range of motion, your muscles can relax and lengthen. This is much needed after long training days or for individuals experiencing stiffness due to lack of exercise.

A Deep Tissue Massage will increase blood circulation in the body, helping reduce swelling and build-up of fluid around scar tissue, promoting healing.

Physical benefits aside, let’s explore the mental benefits of massage in general. Day in and out, we experience stress, spending a lot of time behind a screen, and the tension in our neck and shoulders, leading to headaches and migraines.

Our body is a system that functions simultaneously together, constantly compensating for one another. Hence, if one system is down, other systems begin to work harder, resulting in long-term pain and problems.

We are not talking only about physical pain as a result, but emotional and mental as well.

A Deep Tissue Massage is a way to move emotions in the body and allow for a release on the emotional level, alleviating stress and anxiety in the mental realm.

Are you beginning to see how it is all connected?

Other Benefits Of Deep Tissue Massage:

  • Help with Fibromyalgia and Plantar Fasciitis

  • Increase Blood Flow (Not recommended for patients with high blood pressure and cancer)

  • Help with Sciatica

  • Tennis Elbow

  • Increase Serotonin Levels

deep tissue massage on oahu

Maintenance At Home With Yoga And Massage

We won’t dive deep into this topic during this blog. Instead, we'll briefly touch on it to give you something to walk away with today.

If booking a Deep Tissue Massage is not in your schedule at this time, there are other ways that you can tend to your body that can have therapeutic effects.

Stretching And Yoga At Home

It would be best if you are stretching every day. It doesn’t have to be for hours at a time, but carving out 15 minutes every day will help you build momentum and implement this healthy habit into your life which will have positive, long-term effects on your body.

You can’t put a price tag on that.

Self Massage At Home With No Equipment

We know that a massage from a trained professional feels a lot better. This is an excellent opportunity to drop into your body and connect through self-massage when you feel stressed out, tense or both.

Here are five techniques that you can try at home to restore some balance throughout your day through self-massage.

Where To Book Your Appointment

Whether you are exploring through town on Oahu or just getting out of the water from surfing, we are ready to accompany your healing journey.

We are located conveniently right in the middle of town by Honolulu and Ala Moana shopping centre. If you are looking to pencil yourself in or want to inquire more about the Deep Tissue Massage at our clinic, call today at (808)200-4611.

Or feel free to drop by the office and inquire about booking your next appointment, address: 350 Ward Ave #210, Honolulu, HI 96814, United States.

In Conclusion

Deep Tissue Massage is a therapy targeted towards healing injuries and working with tension in the body. The applied pressure and techniques vary to regular massage therapy, so if you don’t have a high pain tolerance and are looking for something more relaxing, we would recommend other types of massage therapy.

Trying stretching and yoga are beneficial to help promote healing and a healthy functioning body. However, having a Deep Tissue Massage enables you to get into the deeper layers of the tissues and muscles that need more attention.