What I have learned about the term, "deep tissue" during my RMT course is that it gives many people the impression that a "deep tissue" massage treatment is about applying deep pressure during the entire treatment to help them feel better. However, this is not truly what massage therapy is about when it comes to treating the deeper layers of tissue that may be negatively impacting the client's health and wellness. Yes, I do apply deeper pressure at times during treatment but it's more complex than just applying that deep pressure during the entire massage treatment. It's about therapeutically affecting the client's deeper layers of tissues that may be affecting them negatively. I do this by warming up the more superficial tissue layers first, and then the deeper tissue layers next with less pressure and various techniques. I can then affect that deeper affected tissue more effectively with many different techniques that include deeper pressure but with the least amount of discomfort possible to the client because I need the client to be able to "let go" of any tissue that they are "muscle guarding." It is hard to release "muscle guarding" if the client feels a lot of pain or discomfort during treatment. By approaching massage this way, the client may not need as deep pressure as they thought they needed in the first place. After all, my goal is to help improve my client's health and wellness, and this cannot be accomplished if the client is not able to fully relax because they are "muscle guarding" during a treatment.
Note: "muscle guarding" is tissue areas that are restricted or, tight and/or feel painful to the client.