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  • Is Deep Tissue Massage Really A Firm Swedish Massage?


    Absolutely! The majority of the public have been bamboozled in thinking that deep tissue massage is something different than a firm Swedish massage just using the forearms. When someone wants a real deep tissue massage they either seek a Rolfer, or Neuromuscular massage trained therapist. So many massage therapists burn out because they are trying to perform deeper tissue massage than what is needed to address the tissues. Unless your massage client is a body builder or professional athlete there is no reason that the average public needs deep tissue massage to be performed.

    Think about the layer of tissue which involves deep tissue massage. There are organized steps to opening up the body and deep tissue is one of the last steps involved when opening up the body when applying a logical progression than just performing deep tissue massage for the sake of it being called deep tissue massage. When a massage client comes to a massage therapist for the first time and demands deep tissue, they really have no idea what they are talking about. The massage client thinks they need deep tissue but have no idea what deep tissue massage is but has bought into the latest fad or have been brainwashed to believe they are not getting their monies worth.

    The term deep tissue massage came to be because too many massage schools had inexperienced massage instructors teaching and did not have a massage therapy practice over years because if they did they would know they are really teaching Swedish massage techniques properly. The inexperienced massage instructors taught Swedish massage as fluff & buff which could not be further from the original concept of Swedish massage.

    The term Deep tissue massage was really called soma massage therapy many, many moons ago. (Soma in Greek meaning body.) The term deep tissue massage is an advertiser’s term and a way to charge more money for a typical firm Swedish massage therapy session. Think about it, which term sounds more impressive, Swedish massage or deep tissue massage?

    Like super size portions of food, the public thinks more is better which is not true and why we have an epidemic of diabetes and obesity in this country. We are gluttons for punishment and that is the American way which we are coming to find out is only terminology for profit.

    Deep tissue massage is nothing more than using forearms in a Swedish massage. What massage techniques does a massage therapist use in performing deep tissue massage? The massage techniques used in deep tissue massage are effleurage and friction using the forearms and perhaps also performing myofascial release with the forearms.

    Swedish massage was developed by Per Henrick Ling and based on releasing muscles used by gymnasts. Do you really think athletes got relief if Swedish massage was fluff & buff? Per Henrick Ling was given an honorary doctorate from his development of Swedish massage, but before that he was jailed for practicing medicine without a license.

    He was jailed because doctors in the 19th century were afraid Per Henrick Ling was “healing” people and bypassing doctor’s services and indeed for the body to activate its own natural healing process must be opened up in order to relax to access the natural healing process and not drowned in medications.

    If students were properly taught Swedish massage techniques then massage therapists would be in business far longer than the average burn out rate which is now three to five years working full time. If massage therapists really knew what they were doing they would also be working for themselves in all different types of settings instead of working for massage franchises only receiving a cut of the fee.

    Massage therapy got lost when massage schools and massage franchises realized the huge profit potential and the low overhead needed for a massage school program and in a retail massage franchise.  Deep tissue is nothing more than truly understanding Swedish massage techniques and applications.

    The greatest success in massage therapy is as an independent massage therapist who has studied their craft and performs the art of massage instead of pushing flesh. We say these things because we care so much about massage therapists and feel so sad that they are breaking their hands and back while cutting their careers short but still have their student loans to pay.

    A light Swedish massage may be fluff and buff which still will produce great results because it is skilled touch and deep tissue massage is nothing more than a firm Swedish massage including range of motion, stretches and friction. Friction is the deepest stroke in massage therapy and if anyone tells you different has no idea what massage therapy is and making it up as they go along.

    That is why at Massage Specialties CEUS we chose to stick with the classic massage specialties and not get involved with fad terms or misconceptions. We know the truth hurts but we fully support the individual licensed massage therapist and their success which comes with massage specialization, even if that massage specialty is performing an excellent Swedish massage.

    “It is much harder to tell people they have been fooled, than just fooling them.” Mark Twain

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