On a Cellular Level
Deep tissue massage is helps enhance the movement of the body’s natural blood circulation and lymphatic flow at a cellular level. This circulatory system is essential for delivering nutrients to every cell in the body and removing cellular waste products, including toxins such as lactic acid. This type of massage helps to create the optimal internal environment that allows the body to be more efficient.
More Blood Flow
While circulation naturally increases when a person’s level of activity increases, deep tissue massage pressure can bring about even more circulation through the use of pressure and friction. It is also effective in increasing circulation in patients who are unable to contract their own muscles to increase circulation. By increasing the rate of circulation, each cell of the body receives more essential oxygen and other nutrients needed for proper function and maintenance, thereby maximizing the health of each cell and the associated tissues.
Removing the Toxins
The body normally relies heavily on muscle contraction to move lymph fluid, especially when the flow needs to go against the pull of gravity such as in the lower legs. Deep tissue massage helps to mechanically imitate muscular contraction and thereby stimulate additional movement of the lymph fluids, which often contain many cellular waste products. By increasing this flow, more lymph is delivered to the filtering glands and organs that remove these often toxic substances from the body.
Deep tissue massage is also often used to help with the process of breaking up adhesions that have formed in muscle tissue. These adhesions, which begin as pools of toxins and other substances and form in response to trauma or disuse, can inundate a specific area and restrict the patient’s normal range of movement as they begin to solidify. If significant amounts of adhesion or scar tissue develop and press on nerves in an area, the patient can begin to feel pain, tingling, numbness, itching, burning or other sensation because of pressure on the nerves. According to Dr. Leon Chaitow, deep tissue massage can help break up and minimize the development of adhesions and scar tissue. In addition, the resulting increase in circulation helps remove toxic material from the affected site.
Deep tissue massage is also occasionally used to rid the body of toxins received from an external source. This should be done only under close supervision by appropriate medical professionals because it must be determined that moving the particular toxins in question will not be more harmful to the patient than allowing them to remain in one location. The rate of massage-induced toxin transport needs to be coordinated with the rate at which the patient’s body can eliminate the toxins through the liver, kidneys, lymph nodes and glands. Diagnostic testing of the various organs involved can provide information regarding how the increasing lymph flow is affecting the organ’s function. Urine tests can provide concrete data regarding which toxins are being removed and at what rate.
Deep tissue massage is not merely relaxation massage done with more force. Practitioners receive training in how to safely employ the more intense pressure and friction that this technique requires. Considerable consideration is given to underlying musculature, nerves and other structures. Care must also be taken to ensure that deep tissue massage does not damage fragile skin or other overlying tissues. It is essential to have a strong knowledge of blood and lymph circulatory pathways.