Methods of Application of Deep Tissue Massage Therapy

There are many various levels and planes of fascia that can be accessed through the application of specific pressure.  The major method of access regardless of the type of stroke one uses in deep tissue therapy is through the intent behind the touch.

You can use the following general rules for focusing your intention to access the various levels of fascia.

  1. Direction of pressure is determined by the direction of the resistance in the myofascial structure. Press directly into the resistance of pull from the resistance depending on the intent.
  2. Depth is determined by the level of the tissue to be treated and the minimum amount of pressure required to engage the resistance in that tissue.
  3. Duration is determined by the rate of release in the muscular reflexes and the rate of change in the ground substance of the connective tissue.
  4. Pressure is applied only to the minimum level necessary to obtain access to the tissues and is necessary for the self care of the therapist.
  5. To develop effective techniques, the practitioner must develop skill in palpation of the musclo-skeletal system and fascial structures.
  6. Deep tissue massage/bodywork is only a tool to set up a framework for developing a therapeutic relationship which is really the core of healing.  The practitioner who is aware of their codependent tendencies and other dysfunctional behaviors will be the most successful and effective.  The process of peer supervision can support the therapist in this process.
  7. Practitioner awareness is necessary when doing deep tissue massage.  Proper body mechanics and using the weight of one’s body to apply pressure is one part of awareness.  The other is the awareness of one’s self (see #6 above)
  8. Intuition needs to be activated and always improved upon to stay as present with the client as possible.  Intuition is a combination of applying knowledge and experience while you are staying present with what you are feeling in your own body as a result of the interaction with the client.
  9. The practitioner needs to stay present to observe physical, emotional, mental and spiritual changes taking place in the clients body.
  10. The best form of feedback is how you feel (not the client).  We are always reacting and responding to others based on our own needs at the time.  You are a mirror for the receivers of the deep tissue massage.  Use your feelings to guide your touch.

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