With Deep Tissue Massage, the philosophy out there generally is deeper is better. Push hard, go deep. A teacher brought up a really important point about this type of treatment. They said “don’t think of the tissues as a one way system ie: the brain tells it what to do”. There are so many receptors in the tissues that also feed information to the brain. The connection is a two way system. If our work is too deep, too fast the brain may perceive this as a threat and tighten the muscles in response. In my teachers own words “if we think we can overcome a tight muscle by pressure that is too deep, we will probably lose that fight”. It seems to be a place of listening to the tissues. How much pressure will they allow us to use before beginning to tighten? The irony is, the more we listen and only use the appropriate pressure, the deeper we can get into a muscle or tissue. It will take a little bit longer but at the end the treatment was more effective and the patient leaves happy and not feeling like they were beaten up.
I have had instances where I can barely touch the tissue as it is too painful for the client. I only press to their tolerance, wait for the tissues to release, then go a little deeper to the edge of the patient’s tolerance again and repeat. It is amazing how the body will let us go to depths that would have been impossible in the beginning.
Be gentle and go deep.