The term “deep tissue” massage is one that continues to be a huge source of frustration for me in my professional practice. In all my years of studying anatomy and massage (Sweedish, Thai, sports, A.R.T), I have never once heard an instructor or another professional use the term “deep tissue”.
My understanding is that “deep tissue” is a term that was coined to mean deep pressure and caught on, due to its professional sounding terminology, despite the fact that it is not an official anatomical or qualified term.
If what you’re looking for is deep work, than simply say: “I’m looking for more pressure”.
I strongly discourage the use of this term, as it perpetuates an idea that “deep tissue” is a legitimate expression, when in fact it means nothing.
Catherine Taman is a Registered Massage Therapist practicing in Toronto, Canada. She has a special interest in treating chronic pain, headaches, sports injuries and pregnancy related pain. To book an appointment with Catherine, visit rmtmassagetherapytoronto