Sports Massage Therapy

What Does A Deep Tissue Massage Do?

Breeze Academy September 27, 2023
Deep tissue massage on man's upper back

Deep tissue massage is considered an effective solution for pain relief and reducing daily stresses. In this blog, we detail the benefits and side effects of deep tissue massage so you can provide your clients with the most effective results. But, first things first, what does a deep tissue massage do?

A deep tissue massage can alleviate pain, enhance flexibility, reduce stress and improve quality of sleep. Although there are some side effects, these can easily be relieved and even avoided with proper rest and hydration. 

Read on to find out more about what deep tissue massages do and how you can benefit from them. 

What Are the Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage?

If you’re looking to get a deep tissue massage because you’re suffering from chronic pain, a recent injury or are just feeling particularly stiff, here are some of the benefits:

Pain Relief 

One of the main reasons so many people get deep tissue massages is to reduce pain from injury, medical conditions or chronic illness. Although there is a difference between sports massage and deep tissue massage, clients can receive pain relief for sports injuries from deep tissue massage. Studies have shown that the effects of deep tissue massage for pain relief also include the ability to cope with the physical and emotional aspects of pain. 

Enhanced Flexibility

Where clients suffer from reduced mobility due to an injury, deep tissue massage can increase the rate of recovery. Scar tissue is broken down during a deep tissue massage, meaning circulation is improved. This type of massage also allows the patient’s muscles to relax, allowing for a greater range of movability and flexibility. This is also beneficial for sports and workout enthusiasts who can more safely recover from intense sessions. 

Improved Quality of Sleep

Massages are suggested as an effective solution for alleviating everyday stresses and anxiety due to the state of relaxation it triggers in the body both during and for a period after sessions. This along with the pain relief offered, will clients achieve better quality of sleep. The serotonin gained and lowered blood pressure all combine into better quality of sleep. 

Other benefits of deep tissue massage include:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Breaks scar tissue
  • Improves posture
  • Reduces headaches

Are There Any Side Effects to Deep Tissue Massage?

Although deep tissue massage provides many benefits, there are some potential side effects you should be aware of:


Soreness is a very common after effect of deep tissue massage due to the amount of pressure applied to the body. If the client has never had one before, it is expected that the area around the massage will be particularly tender. Getting a headache can sometimes be caused by the patient’s position during the massage as they are laid in an unusual position. Find out more about why massage hurts so much in our recent blog.


As deep tissue massages encourage serotonin boosts and relaxation, it is completely normal to experience lethargy afterwards. Sometimes injured or particularly sore areas are targeted in these sessions and this can cause a client to become mentally fatigued. Read our in depth blog for more information on tiredness after a deep tissue massage.


Illness is another frequent symptom after deep tissue massages, particularly flu-like symptoms. This is thought to be a result of the soreness of muscles during the session causing the immune system to activate and try to repair itself. The typical symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Muscle soreness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue


As deep tissue massage involves hard manipulation of the muscles, this can deplete them of water leaving you feeling dehydrated afterwards. This can then lead to headaches and dizziness.  We have an in depth blog available about why drinking water after a massage is so important so you can inform your clients. 

How to Reduce the Side Effects of Deep Tissue Massage

A heating pad or cold pack is the ideal solution for relieving any soreness or tenderness after a deep tissue massage. Taking a nap or resting for a while after a session is a great way to combat fatigue and headaches. If clients experience flu-like symptoms, it is recommended to rest and hydrate well to speed up recovery time. 

If your client falls into any of the following categories then they should consult their healthcare provider before having a deep tissue massage:

  • Has a history of blood clots or a clotting disorder
  • Is taking blood thinners
  • Has a bleeding disorder
  • Has cancer, or is undergoing cancer treatment
  • Has osteoporosis that has spread to the bones
  • If they are pregnant
  • If they have an open wound or skin infection of any kind

How Often Should You Get A Deep Tissue Massage?

Although there is no strict guide on how often deep tissue massages should be done, it is recommended once per week for the first six weeks. Then once per 2-4 weeks. This can vary depending on whether the client has pre-existing conditions, injuries or illness. For more information on this topic, check out our in depth blog.  

Final Thoughts

Deep tissue massage provides an effective solution for individuals suffering from injury, chronic pain or a pre-existing medical condition. It offers pain relief, improved quality of sleep and more flexibility. There are however some common side effects which clients should be aware of including soreness, fatigue and flu-like symptoms. These symptoms shouldn’t last for long after a session and can easily be reduced by resting, hydrating and napping.  

We have a range of Sports Massage Training courses available to help you provide the best experience for your clients. Curated and delivered by expert clinicians, our courses provide you with everything you need to safely and effectively provide massage to clients. If you’re completely new to massage, take a look at our level 3 course. For those more experienced, our level 4 course may be more suitable.


What is the Difference Between Deep Tissue Massage and Sports Massage?

Often mistaken for each other, sports massage and deep tissue massage differ in their purpose. For clients suffering from sports injuries or pain after a workout, sports massage can be focused to a particular area of the body. Deep tissue massage however is for the entire body or at least larger areas. We go more in depth about this topic in our recent blog.

Are Bruises Normal After a Deep Tissue Massage?

Bruising after a deep tissue massage is pretty normal due to the manipulation of muscles. Visible bruises are less common, it is more often the feeling of being bruised and soreness that clients experience. For more information on this, our recent blog goes in depth on bruising after deep tissue massage.

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