Specializing in painless deep tissue work, you will find this effective for deeper muscle tension and pain but will not leave feeling as if you were “beat up.”
Deep Tissue Massage
A 38 year old woman suffers permanent shoulder drop after a "deep tissue" massage caused damage to a spinal accessory nerve.
A client tells a massage therapist that he wants more pressure. She complies. He again asks for more pressure. She complies. He again asks for more pressure. Unable to exert any more pressure with her hands, she resorts to using a hand-held tool to apply more pressure without hurting her joints. Shortly after, she receives an email from her employer that the client is suing their business, claiming that he was injured by the massage.
"How does massage work?"
My late Russian Massage teacher Zhenya Kurashova Wine asked this question at the beginning of my first class with her. We sat and looked at her blankly. No one raised their hand, no one offered an answer. What kind of a question was this, anyway? We never thought about this. You know, you put your hands on people and then . . . well, massage happens!
When it became apparent that no one was going to attempt to answer, Zhenya finally said, "I'll tell you how it works," and then went on to explain.
Got back pain? Call us!
Low back pain is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. Everyone knows someone who suffers from back pain and most Americans will suffer from it some time in their life. In spite of its prevalence, successful treatment of low back pain remains elusive. No one has consistently good statistics in the treatment of low back pain.
What can we offer you?
We cannot promise results. However, we can promise this:
When Ida Rolf began putting her hands and elbows on people’s skin and applying pressure, creating a slow, sustained stretch, she imagined that she was stretching fascial sheets. Generations of manual therapists have followed her thinking, accepting this explanation to account for the changes felt in tissue tension beneath their hands and the sensations experienced by those who receive this type of therapy.
We massage therapists are taught a lot about muscles. We also study bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, fascia. We learn a little about physiology, about other systems of the body, and some lip service is paid to the role of the nervous system in the relaxation response and to how the brain mediates the changes brought about by massage. But mostly we pay attention to muscles. We talk about which muscles are tight, find “knots” in them, and “release” them by pushing into them and/or stretching them with our hands, fingers, forearms, and elbows.
Recently an older, somewhat frail woman came into my office. She has a serious condition that requires ongoing treatment and the primary condition creates numerous other serious health problems. In spite of this, she maintains a cheerful disposition and endures it all with acceptance.
A dear friend of hers thought that she might like a soothing massage and sent her to me, trusting that my experience and training would allow for both a pleasant and safe experience. The client consulted with her doctor about what would be permissible and what should be avoided and had his consent to have gentle massage.
Besides her complicated and generally frail condition, the client had osteoporosis and had suffered several broken bones as a result. Clearly, this was someone who needed to be handled very gently.
And she had neck pain.
The past year has seen a mental growth spurt for this therapist. After years of feeling isolated as an evidence-based massage therapist, I found an online community of MTs and related professionals with similar interests.
NPR (National Public Radio) recently ran a story, "Got Low Back Pain? Massage Therapy May Rub It Out." The story points out that after colds, low back pain is one of the most common complaints seen by doctors. It causes lost time at work and brings misery into many people's lives. A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that therapeutic massage may be more effective than conventional treatment for low back pain.
A more detailed analysis of the study written in laymen's terms is available at Pain-Topics.org. Of note is that both Swedish massage and structural massage were both effective, with very little difference between them.
Painless deep tissue massage. Some people think it's an oxymoron. Many clients and therapists alike believe that in order for a massage to be therapeutic is has to be painful, that harder means deeper and better and more effective. They believe that the only way to affect deeper muscle tissue is to use a lot of pressure. I once thought this myself.
I am here to deliver some good news: massage does not have to be hard and painful to be effective and one does not have to inflict pain on the client in order to effect the deeper muscle tissues. In fact, the opposite is true. Too hard of pressure creates resistance in the body and pain only causes a stress response. I thank my Russian Massage teacher Zhenya Kurashova Wine for teaching me how to work effectively without causing discomfort to the client and how to do painless deep tissue massage.