Sports Massage Therapy

Does Deep Tissue Massage Make You Tired?

Dr. Carl Clarkson
Dr. Carl Clarkson November 11, 2022
Deep tissue massage on shoulder

Most types of massage are known to be relaxing, but can they make clients actually feel tired or fatigued? In this article, we look into if and how deep tissue massage in particular makes clients feel afterwards, and what they can do to alleviate such sensations. So, does deep tissue massage make you tired? Deep tissue massage can make some people feel mentally or physically fatigued. It is thought that this is due to the massage releasing tension, stress, and generally relaxing the person. Some experts actually recommend that people lean into this fatigue as a way of alleviating other side effects.

Read on to learn more about deep tissue massage and why it makes some clients feel tired afterwards.

Can a Deep Tissue Massage Make You Tired?

Clients often report feeling tired or fatigued after a deep tissue massage. This is completely normal and may be a result of the massage releasing tension and reducing both mental and physical stress. 

Essentially, massage relaxes both the mind and body which, for some people, can result in mental tiredness or physical body fatigue. Typically this fatigue is temporary and should resolve itself after a good night’s sleep. In fact, there is an array of experts within the field that encourages clients to lean into this relaxation with guidance on what to do after a massage - but more on that later. 

On the other hand, some clients report feeling more energetic and revived after a massage; the important thing to remember is that not all clients will react in the same way and that the  body is made up of complex systems that react to constantly changing external factors.  

Why Does Deep Tissue Massage Make You Tired?

As we’ve already mentioned, the tiredness or fatigue that some clients experience after a deep tissue massage is usually rooted in the fact that the massage literally relaxes both the mind and body, almost readying them for sleep.

Likewise, the fact that massage promotes better circulation, increased mobility and pain relief means that clients are more likely to have a good night’s sleep after a deep tissue massage.

Other Side Effects of Deep Tissue Massage

Beside tiredness and fatigue, there are a number of other side effects to deep tissue massage and, whilst most are mild and short-lived, it’s important that both Massage Therapists and clients are aware of these side effects before proceeding with an appointment.

Soreness

Soreness around the area where the massage was given is one of the most common side effects of deep tissue massage. The vigorous nature of deep tissue massage (and sports massage) affects the body in a similar way to exercise, stimulating muscles that, perhaps, are used to it, thus resulting in a sensation akin to DOMS.

Learn more about how and why some types of massage result in soreness in our recent blog, Why Does Sports Massage Hurt So Much? Alternatively, find out What Happens to the Body After Deep Tissue Massage to see why massage affects the body in such a way.

Headache

It’s not uncommon for deep tissue massage to cause a headache. It’s thought that the awkward head positioning during the massage may be responsible, but it’s likely to be a mild, short-term side effect that shouldn’t cause too much disruption to daily life. 

Illness

Flu-like symptoms are a fairly common side effect after a deep tissue massage, a phenomenon known as Post Massage Soreness & Malaise (PMSM). It is thought that PMSM is caused by toxins being flushed from the body during massage and may result in flu-like symptoms such as pain, muscle soreness, headache, nausea and fatigue. 

Learn more about how massage can cause flu-like symptoms in our blog, Can Deep Tissue Massage Cause Flu-Like Symptoms?.

Dizziness

Immediately after the massage, some clients report feeling dizzy or faint. Be sure that clients take their time getting off the table and can make their way home safely (do not allow them to drive away if they report such sensations).

What to Do After a Deep Tissue Massage

Some of the side effects that we’ve listed above can’t really be prevented, but there are a number of things that clients can do after the massage to help alleviate any side effects.

Hydrate

Drinking more water is never a bad idea, but after a deep tissue massage an increase in water consumption can help to rehydrate the tissues and ease some side effects such as soreness and headaches. Likewise, for those feeling a little faint or dizzy afterwards, a cool glass of water can help them to slowly return to normal.

Rest

If clients are feeling tired or fatigued after a deep tissue massage, one of the best things they can do is rest. Whether it’s mental or physical fatigue, a nap, a good night’s sleep or simply just doing nothing for a while can be incredibly restorative and help the body to re-tune itself. 

Take a Bath

Never underestimate the power of a bath! A nice warm bath can help to soothe aching muscles, particularly if epsom salts are used (epsom salts are magnesium sulfate, which is a natural muscle relaxer).

Final Thoughts

Deep tissue massage has been known to cause both mental and physical fatigue for some clients, but this is completely normal and may simply be due to massages relaxing the mind and body. But, it can actually be beneficial for clients that experience such fatigue to lean into it by resting, relaxing and hydrating after a massage in order to gain stronger benefits and to alleviate some of the side effects of deep tissue massage.

If you’re interested in becoming a Massage Therapist and want to learn more about the side effects of deep tissue massage, take a look at our Sports Massage Therapist courses . We offer Level 3 courses for beginners, Level 4 Courses, and even an University Undergraduate Level 4 course, specifically created for Physiotherapy and Sports Rehabilitation students, who have completed their first year of University.

Learn more about our courses online or get in touch for more information.

FAQs

What is a Deep Tissue Massage?

Deep tissue massage is a type of massage that is usually performed across larger areas of the body (opposed to a sports massage which is typically isolated) with the aim of relieving muscular tension, breaking down knots, increasing blood flow and to relieve stress. 

Techniques used in deep tissue massage may include:

  • Cross fibre friction
  • Active release tension
  • Muscle energy technique
  • Trigger point
  • Myofascial release
  • Effleurage
  • Petrissage
  • Tapotement

Learn more about what a deep tissue massage is in our blog, What’s the Difference Between Sports Massage and Deep Tissue Massage?

What are the Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage?

The benefits of deep tissue massage are fairly wide and varied; these include:

  • Stress relief
  • Reduces pain
  • Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
  • Breaks up scar tissue
  • Increases range of motion
  • Reduces the symptoms of arthritis
  • Rehabilitates injured muscles

Learn more about the benefits of deep tissue massage, as well as how often client should have them to receive the benefits in our blog, How Often Should You Get a Sports Massage?

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