Why my deep tissue bodywork works
I get many clients requesting deep tissue massage and I get really excited every time. I get really excited because I know I am about to give them a massage they have, most likely, never had before.
With the influx of massage places in southern California, and the varying degrees of training and knowledge in this field, deep tissue work has taken on quite a reputation. Maybe you've experienced the 'nails digging into the table' pressure, or the relentless 'over and over' the knot technique that many cheap massage places call deep tissue and this article is to specifically separate that style and what I do, which is a more specific and effective style of deep work called Deep Tissue Sculpting.
'Deep tissue sculpting is a form of deep tissue massage characterized by firm, constant compression's and strokes applied parallel to the muscle fibers'.-Deep Tissue Sculpting, Carole Osborne-Sheets
I'm not trying to knock anyone's style of massage with this information, I simply want my clients to understand what they are getting when they book a deep tissue massage with me. With a change in the status quo, education is often necessary. That being said, deep tissue sculpting is not a new modality. It just isn't as well known due to its origins in a small massage school in southern California by an effective and knowledgeable bodyworker and instructor I had the pleasure of learning under at the International Professional School of bodywork (IPSB) named Carole Osborne-Sheets.
About the bodywork...
The main difference in Deep Tissue Sculpting and what a standard massage therapist does is the intention. My intention with deep work is above all else, the anatomy of the body. In order to practice DTS, one must posses the knowledge of the muscular system in its entirety. This knowledge enables the therapist to most effectively remove adhesion's in the muscle and properly reorganize the surrounding fascia.
We use the word sculpting to convey the image of what we, as the therapist, see in our minds as we work. Much like a sculptor will carve away the excess stone, we carve away any impurities in the muscle and surrounding connective tissue, called fascia.
'Like other myofascial bodywork methods, the techniques are intended to affect the deeper structures of the musculoskeletal system, as well as the skin and more superficial fascia and muscles. In order to reach these deeper layers, the sculptor uses fingertips, knucles, forearms, elbows, or any other bony body part as tools. Pressure is gradually applied to a tight area until a resistance is met. Constant pressure is maintained while the tissue relaxes and until release is complete. The work proceeds slowly to allow the client to assimilate the deeper pressures and intensity of physical and emotional sensations that can occur' Deep Tissue Scupting, by Carole Osborne-Sheets
Emotional release can and often does happen. We hold past emotions in our tissues. Understanding the somatic side of bodywork, any DTS therapist knows how to handle this and will appropriately facilitate this release. Be open to your body speaking to you, it does it all the time. That headache you get is your body telling you it needs water or sleep. That pain you get in your back is alerting you to stretch more. The body only communicates when it needs to, and sadly in our society we have been taught to pop an aspirin or tylenol when what we really need is to listen.
The best candidates for Deep Tissue Sculpting is anyone suffering from the following-
Generalized tension due to stress of overuse
Localized chronic (ongoing) muscle tension and myofascial restriction (frozen shoulder, etc.)
Structural misalignments (hump back, cant sit up right, etc.)
Pregnancy related muscluloskeletal discomforts (safe for mama's)
Some injuries, diseases and disorders
Distorted or diminished body awareness
Just about anyone who can get regular massage can received DTS, its much more important who is providing the work. Ask your therapist questions if you're unsure. If they don't have extensive anatomical knowledge then they shouldn't be going too deeply into your tissues. Knowing where a muscle starts and ends and its direction of pull are basic principles that any massage therapist should be able to tell you for every muscle in the body.
If you don't take care of your body, where are you going to live?- Anonymous