Massage & Bodywork

January/February 2013

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technique classroom to client | @work | Energy work | Myofascial techniques What is Deep-Tissue Massage? By Anne Williams The term deep-tissue massage is defined by different authors in different ways. Some say it is massage directed at the deeper myofascial structures of the body. Others ask, "What if the myofascial structures needing deeptissue massage are superficial?" Some say that deep-tissue massage is work that feels deep to the client. Others ask, "Does this mean the work should feel painful to the client?" Some say the term is a misnomer and should be completely stricken from massage literature. Others say, "Wait a minute; our profession holds a general, not specific, definition of the term, and clients use it to describe the kind of massage they want." As you move from your massage and bodywork classrooms to your massage and bodywork clients, you may feel a little confused about this much-loved, much-hated, and much-debated term. What I do know, personally, is that deep-tissue massage feels a certain way when I apply it. I think of it not as an independent massage system, but as a way to approach all soft-tissue structures, whether they are located superficially or deeply in the body. At any time, and during any type of massage, I want to be able to slow down and work more deeply when I encounter localized tension. Moreover, I am not just talking about pressure. I want to work more deeply with my thinking, with my listening, and with my whole self to facilitate therapeutic change. 102 massage & bodywork january/february 2013

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