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Massage Aha!

Professional therapeutic massage therapy in Kansas City, MO by Aaron Harris, BCTMB

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What is a Deep Tissue Massage?


A vast majority of clients confuse “deep tissue” work with a massage using strong pressure.

A deep tissue massage involves working with muscle groups that are less superficial, or deeper in the body than those a typical Swedish massage session would manipulate.

Unlike a typical Swedish massage, which uses lighter strokes and kneading motions, deep tissue massage employs more intense and deliberate pressure to target specific areas of tension or discomfort. This massage modality aims to release chronic muscle tension, reduce pain, and promote relaxation.

Deep tissue sessions are generally more focused on one body part. They are slower and often require the use of a practitioner’s elbows and forearms to “melt” through the superficial tissues to reach deeper structures.

The pressure applied in a deep tissue massage helps to break down adhesions or knots that can form in muscles due to stress, injury, or overuse. These adhesions can restrict blood flow and cause pain and inflammation.


For example, the superficial tissues and muscles of the upper back, such as the trapezius and latissimus dorsi would be commonly manipulated during a swedish session.

The superficial muscles of the back.
The superficial muscles of the back including trapezius, latissimus dorsi, and the posterior heads of the deltoids.
One level cut away view of the muscles of the upper back targeted in a deep tissue massage.
One level cut away view of the muscles of the upper back including the minor and major rhomboids, and longissimus thoracis. These muscles are often targets of a deep tissue massage.

There are several muscles that lie beneath these tissues that require time and patience to access. These tissues would include the rhomboidslongissimus thoracis, and the intercostal muscles of the rib cage.

Even deeper lies splenius cervicissplenius capitis, and multifidi. These muscles can become overworked and tired or injured due to an accident or fall.

Deepest view of the muscles of the upper back only accessible via a deep tissue massage.
Two layer cut away view of the muscles of the upper back including, splenius capitis, splenius cervicis, and multifidi. These muscles can only be adequately targeted during a deep tissue massage.

When you request an in-home Deep Tissue massage session from me, we will spend a few minutes discussing the symptoms and pain that you are experiencing so that I can focus on the muscles and tissues involved to provide relief.


The benefits of a deep tissue massage go beyond just relaxation. This therapy can help improve posture, increase flexibility, and alleviate chronic pain conditions such as back pain, neck pain, and muscle tension. It’s a popular choice for athletes and individuals who lead active lifestyles, as it can assist in reducing the risk of injury and enhancing overall muscle function. While deep tissue massages may be intense and slightly uncomfortable at times, the therapeutic results often leave clients feeling revitalized and with a sense of improved physical well-being.

"If you like deep tissue Aaron is your therapist."
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Sean M.

Deep Tissue Massage Aftercare

A deep tissue massage requires more diligent aftercare because these muscles are very strong and manipulation can cause a brief period of increased pain and, in some cases, minor bruising.



An increase in your water intake combined with the use of an over-the-counter, non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen (Motrin) or naprosyn (Aleve) can alleviate lingering effects.



Alternating ice and heat packs as well as a topical pain-relieving cream/gel such as BioFreeze or Capzasin are helpful. CBD oils have also proven to be quite effective.

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