One thing to keep in mind going into your first deep tissue massage is that deep tissue massage utilizes very specialized techniques to get deep into your tissues so the therapist can work on loosening the contracted muscles that are causing your muscle pain, limited mobility or other health issues. A deep tissue is not the same as a relaxation or therapeutic massage, which is characterized by a light touch and an emphasis on stress relief, light muscle work and creating an overall sense of wellbeing. During a deep tissue massage, very little creams and oils are used so that the therapist is able to hook and grab your muscles, stretch and lengthen them, release adhesions, realign tissue fibers and intentionally cause muscle inflammation, to flush the area with white blood cells to promote healing. Due to the friction of skin to skin contact and the highly targeted muscle work, you will almost certainly feel a certain level of discomfort or even short bursts of pain during your deep tissue massage.
This is exactly the experience I had during my first deep tissue massage – at some points the massage was relaxing, at other points is was very painful, but mostly it hovered somewhere in between. I asked my therapist at every stage of the massage to explain what she was doing and it really helped me understand the treatment and why it was worthwhile to push through my discomfort. Obviously always tell your therapist if any pain is becoming unbearable and you would like them to stop, but for the most part the pain during your deep tissue is going to be the good kind of pain – the kind where you know it hurts in the moment but you will feel so much better afterwards for it!