“What is a ‘deep tissue massage,’ anyway?” I offer deep tissue massage as a treatment option, but I’ve got to admit that this is a hard question to answer. For some people, it means massage using lots of pressure. While I can offer that, it’s not what defines my strategy.

Some massage therapists think of it as massage that affects the deeper structures of the body. Instead of staying light and superficial, it sends a message to the muscles that nestle between your vertebrae, and to the ones that lie underneath the visible muscles. While this is certainly true, I think that even light-pressure massages have effects deep down to your core.

For me, I think that “deep tissue” just means “thorough and meaningful.” If you’ve ever had a massage that seemed to ignore much of your body, or that only focused on your most obvious muscles, there’s nothing “deep” about that. I try to make meaningful contact with all of the muscles in the 3-dimensional web that creates your posture. That means acknowledging the shoulder blades, and the hips, and the sides of the body. It means moving your limbs as I work, so that I can make contact from many different angles. A proper deep tissue massage should feel profound, and it should leave you with more knowledge of your body than you started with.

Basically, don’t be scared that “deep tissue” is going to hurt. I personally don’t think that massage should ever hurt, or that painful massage is ever superior to patient, sensitive massage. I’ll use the pressure that you prefer, within your comfort zone. If it’s ever too much (or too little!), just let me know.