The Art of Deep Tissue
Deep tissue massage has gained the reputation of being a no pain no gain experience. While extremely effective for relieving tension in the deeper layers of tissue in the body, it inevitably comes with the stigma of bite the pillow or breathe through the pain. That reputation of hurt so good or so bad causes many people to shy away from an effective, drug free therapy to relieve their chronic pain.
Deep tissue massage has been proven time and again to release chronically stressed areas deep inside the body due to misalignment, repetitive motions, or past lingering injuries. However, the fear of more pain to a person already in pain, is often too much which leads the patient to opt for medications despite the side effects of long term medication use.
On top of that, deep tissue massage is hard on the practitioner. The majority of massage therapists have careers lasting only 5 to 7 years. Performing deep tissue massage breaks down the therapists body and in a short time they are left with tough choices, to either change modalities or leave the profession they love.
So how do we save both the practitioner and client from the old school, no pain no gain deep tissue we have all grown to love and hate?
Like any good science or art form, massage therapy develops over time. By going deep into history, westernized massage has learned how to provide a deep tissue massage that is pain free, effective, and deeply relaxing.
The trick is, we shouldn't use our hands.
Let me explain:
The upper body alone cannot provide enough pressure to reach the deeper layers of the body. It doesn't matter how strong the practitioner is or how big. The therapist must resort to the use of thumbs, knuckles, and elbows to pin point the deep knots and triggers in the body to make up for the lack of pressure. This is where the pain comes in, from those bony joints being pressed into our most delicate and dysfunctional spots. No wonder people in pain shy away from a modality that by its very nature must bring more pain.
However, if the therapist uses her feet and her whole body for pressure, she can reach the deeper muscles with gravity alone. Better than a thumb or an elbow, the foot is soft, padded, and broad. So, the stroke of a full body foot is long, slow, and deep without ever having to press hard into a body that is already in pain. During an ashiatsu (foot) massage, space is created in the joints with minimal effort by the practitioner, enabling her to perform her beloved career for decades. Frozen shoulders and hips are opened and released by the use of deep yet long and broad strokes that only a foot can provide. The end result is an effective deep tissue massage that is enjoyable, some would say even luxurious, with long lasting results for both the client and the therapist.
It is important to point out ashiastu isn't for everyone. Persons suffering from osteoporosis or varicose veins should opt for a hands on Swedish massage. However if you are relatively healthy with chronic pain that you or your hands on therapist just can't reach then its time to try ashiastu.
We welcome you to experience the art and science that is deep tissue. We promise you'll never want an elbow in your back again.
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