Friday, March 23, 2012

Deep Tissue vs. Deep Pressure Massage - Do you know the difference?


Have you ever become nauseous from a massage before? To my knowledge none of my clients ever have, but I had someone the other day ask me about that very thing. A friend of hers had a very “deep tissue” massage while on vacation and became very ill right after the massage. Notice I put “deep tissue” in quotes here. Here is why:

Myth: Deep tissue massage should hurt, and have a huge amount of pressure.

Truth: Deep tissue massage is not deep pressure massage!!! Rather, it is quite slow and not so painful, unless the therapist and client are working through some trigger points. Trigger points can be painful, but should never go above the 4-6 range on a pain scale. (0=no pain and 10=worst pain you have ever felt) Deep tissue massage is also not a full body massage. It is contained to only a couple of areas of the body.

There are a few possible reasons behind why this person became sick after her massage.

1. She was dehydrated. You definitely want to make sure you are drinking enough water each day, and especially before and after a massage. Not because it removes toxins from the body, but because keeping hydrated helps your body do what it needs to do on a cellular level. When you are dehydrated, your body has a difficult time coping with anything you put it through. If you don't like water, then read my post about how to give your water some excitement.

2. It wasn't a deep tissue massage, but a deep pressure one. Much too deep a pressure of one. When causing so much pain to someone through a full body deep pressure massage, the body can go into shock. This can cause the nausea that this person was feeling.

3. The face cradle was not positioned correctly. I stress to my clients of how important it is for them to tell me if they are ever uncomfortable before, during and after a massage. This is a key in point reason. If the face cradle was positioned so that it was hitting pressure points on the client, it can cause sinus pain, headaches, dizziness, and of course nausea. Please don't be afraid to speak up to your therapist if you are ever uncomfortable on the table, or in a massage chair for that matter. Even if you started out comfortable, but after a few minutes, or even halfway through the massage, let your therapist know. A skilled therapist will be able to work on your muscles in any position that you need to be in. I can work on your back, even if you are laying on your back.

So now you have a bit more information about why a massage could not make you feel so great afterward, and what do to to make sure that doesn't happen. Drink plenty of fluids, talk to your therapist about his/her pressure, and let your therapist know if you are ever uncomfortable during the massage. If you do become sick after a massage, please let your therapist know about it, so you can figure out why that happened, to prevent it from happening again.