Deep tissue massage is growing in popularity as people around the world discover its utility in improving physiological wellness. The technique consists of deep pressure from the fingers and slow strokes that affect the deeper layers of muscle that traditional massages may not have much impact upon. There is a growing body of scientific literature that shows the clinical impact of deep tissue massages, including in patients suffering from certain disease states.
The University of Maryland Medical Center uses the technique in some patients with chronic pain, reporting favorable results without the side effects and abuse risks associated with opioid medications. The thinking is that the massages may be improving blood flow to the muscles, allowing for a reduction in inflammation and pain. They may also help in reducing muscle tension which can be a source of discomfort in those suffering from chronic pain.
Beyond pain and inflammation, massages are culturally known to be relaxing and for good reason. They can help reduce stress as one completely relaxes and lets it all go during a session. Many people report getting regular massages in order to keep stress levels low and this often ends up correlating with important physiological markers including blood pressure. Studies have supported this with evidence- those who meditate and get massages tend to have lower blood pressures (or the same patients have blood pressure reduction before and after the fact).
Deep tissue massages may also allow for better circulation of the blood, which has numerous downstream effects. This includes better healing as the body can more efficiently transport needed resources to the site of injury and transversely, get rid of waste products. This can go well beyond the time of initial injury as the process is still vitally important to getting rid of scar tissue. The particular mechanism may involve the lymphatic circulation. The benefits in this regard are recognized in some patients who undergo major surgery and go on massage regimens afterwards in order to quicken the recovery process.
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