June 2019

"Massage is the study of anatomy in braille."

 - Jack Meagher

Deep Tissue Massage

Almost all of our clients have experienced Deep Tissue Massage/Techniques (DT) when they receive a massage at Osetra Wellness. The main misconception is that DT MUST be heavy pressure with the notion of "No Pain, No Gain". When we are talking about Deep, we mean the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, not the pressure. DT focuses on the layers of tissue and improving muscle contractions. We follow Art Rigg's Deep Tissue Techniques philosophy which focuses on using enough pressure to match a client's muscle resistance rather than overpowering the muscle. This nullifies the chance of minor injury for the tissue we are addressing. Art Riggs also incorporates Myofascial Release techniques to help integration and decrease the post-session soreness.
Contraindications, situations where DT is more harmful than beneficial, are when you are dealing with blood thinners, high risk of blood clots, aneurysms, lymphedema/chronic swelling, and/or under going radiation or chemotherapy treatments for cancer. If you feel hungover or have an upset stomach before the session, DT has a high chance of making you feel much worse since it pushes more cells into the filtering organs. 

The Techniques

Above: an example of Pin & Stretch

The main techniques you will experience in a DT massage are Cross Fiber Friction(CFF) and Pin & Stretch. These are the techniques used to engage and relax the top layers of muscle and to scrub and stretch the deeper layers.  
CFF is going against the muscle fiber direction with an oblique angle. This helps break free any adhesions of the connective tissue coating of muscles so we can isolate the muscle fibers involved in the tension hold. Once we've isolated the muscle fibers and they still hold tension but are in an ideal length, we do rolling CFF where we roll our wrists to mimic a wave while moving our fingers up and down. This adds an extra dimension of friction to get the muscles to relax. This family of techniques are great for the long back muscles and the calves. 
Pin & Stretch consists of doing a passive stretch while pinning the muscle belly with broad pressure. This technique is great for muscles that are dealing with a reduced range of motion and active stretching isn't releasing them. 
Once we're at the very deep stabilizer muscles, we work more on the connective tissue layers between the muscles and bone by using fingertip sized blunt pressure on the boney aspects that the muscles start and end at. This can be intense and we encourage you to take deep breaths to relax into the release.
DT techniques are used in Trigger Point Therapy, but that will be a future article of its own.


Aftercare is very important when you receive a DT massage. We hand you a cup of water for a reason! Staying hydrated helps with your filtering organs process everything we have stirred up. If you feel soreness the next day, use a hot compress or spend a couple extra minutes in a hot shower to let the muscles get extra blood circulation. If the soreness progresses, see if you need to alter your desk chair, car seat, or keyboard position. DT's goal is to improve your muscles which ends up altering your posture. So if your workplace or car was set up to accommodate your muscle issues, it won't be accommodating for your muscle improvements.  

Our Therapists and Their Experiences

Sophia trained at Arizona Body Church back in the 90s. She then learned to integrate DT with Myofascial Release at Palo Alto School of Massage.

Angelica trained directly with Art Riggs and Marty Morales. She likes to integrate DT with Swedish.

"Try Something New" Special

We are offering $10 off a session if you ask to try a massage style or technique you haven't received before and want to try. We have experience in a lot of different styles of massage outside of Deep Tissue and Swedish. If you're interested in the special but don't have anything in mind, we can discuss what new techniques would benefit you most.

This is only valid for one session paid out of pocket excluding Groupon and Spafinder. We don't offer Thai Massage.

Osetra Wellness
1777 Borel Place, Ste 104
San Mateo, CA 94402