Whether you have temporary pain, are suffering from a longtime chronic condition, or just love to feel good, deep tissue massage and massage therapy can bring you lasting relief. Science tells us that deep tissue massage both feels great and is a known medical solution. In fact, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says deep tissue massage is proven to encourage healing and relieve pain and discomfort related to health challenges such as cancer, depression, chronic headaches, chronic neck or back pain, osteoarthritis of the knee, and more. Deep tissue massage is frequently used for relieving stress, managing pain, breaking down scar tissue, relieving muscle tension and improving health. Deep tissue massage has also been shown to be beneficial in reducing high blood pressure.
But you don't have to be in pain to have a deep tissue massage. Having a massage at any time is proven to promote an overall sense of well-being and can help keep your body loose and injury-free. You can even think of massage as a glorious form of preventive medicine. Deep tissue massage technique works deeper into the layers of your muscle and connective tissue than a lighter, surface approach such as Swedish massage. Because deep tissue massage stimulates those underlying tissues and muscles, this type of bodywork is often prescribed for recuperation from sports-related injuries and other physical pains, according to the Mayo Clinic.
When practicing deep tissue massage, massage therapists use systematic deep tissue strokes that work below the surface level to dissolve built-up scar tissue, stiffness and adhesions (knots). This is why deep tissue massage is a good option for people with chronic pain or tension in their muscles. These kinks in your fascia can actually lead to a lower quality of life overall because of the constant discomfort they cause. Massage therapists use their hands, forearms, fists and knuckles as tools to knead and stroke your muscles and loosen those rock-hard adhesions. Massage therapists generally give either 60- or 90-minute deep tissue massage sessions, although if you have a specific health condition they may recommend alternative time lengths or types of massage such as hot stone massage, sports massage or prenatal massage. Deep tissue massage can take place at a spa or massage studio, or in the comfort of your home or office if the massage therapist provides mobile massage. If you are ready to start healing, here are the cost factors for deep tissue massage.
The longer a massage therapist can work with your body during a session, the more opportunity they have to delve into tight muscles and to help promote healing. Longer massages also will cost more than shorter sessions. Deep tissue massage is intensive work for the massage therapist and requires strength and attention. Rates often start on an hourly basis and increase incrementally on the half-hour. Here are some deep tissue massage average pricing examples:
- Blissful Massage in Bedford, Texas: $49 for a 60-minute massage and $59 for a 90-minute massage
- Relaaax in Plano, Texas: $100 for a 90-minute massage
Deep tissue massage may cost more if it takes place in an upscale studio or spa because business expenses and overhead will factor into the cost. In addition, geographic location can affect deep tissue massage costs if the massage therapist is in a city with a higher cost of living. More expensive areas mean higher insurance rates, higher studio rental rates, and higher business overhead costs.
Independent massage therapists often cost less per hour than those working in spas or studios . However, travel fees can directly affect the cost of a deep tissue massage. When massage therapists have "outcalls" (massage services performed in a client's home) that require them to drive outside of their service area or when they are requested during peak traffic hours, the client may be charged a travel fee or a higher hourly rate. Travel fees account for the therapist's time, transportation costs, and the effort of packing and transporting their massage table, oils, and lotions. Here's what Relaaax charges on average for outcall massages:
- Outcalls up to 30 miles away: $30
- Outcalls up to 30-50 miles away: $35
Here's what Garry Commiato, LMT of Dallas, Texas, charges on average:
- Incall massages: $50
- Outcall massage: $95
In most cases, the more often you receive massage services, the better it is for your overall health. In fact, many physical therapists or specialized doctors may prescribe a series of deep tissue massages if you are recovering from an injury or as a solution to chronic pain. When you need an ongoing series of deep tissue massage, you will likely find the most savings by purchasing a package. Ask your massage therapist if he or she offers a package deal with a reduced rate per massage. The massage therapist benefits from the ongoing business, you benefit from the savings, and you both benefit physically as the massage therapist comes to know your body's needs and is better able to treat you. For example, a 90-minute deep tissue massage may cost $90 for one session, but if you purchase a package of five 90-minute deep tissue massages, the cost might be $400, saving you a total of $50.
In addition to receiving bodywork, you may want to treat yourself with add-on services such as a hot stone treatment or aromatherapy. Many massage therapists offer add-ons and time-based packages that cater to different needs. Relaaax, for example, offers these add-on packages:
- Two-hour massage, including deep tissue: $130
- Two-and-a-half-hour massage, including deep tissue, plus hot stone treatment: $160
- Two-hour massage, including deep tissue, along with other techniques such as energy work, aromatherapy, hand and foot paraffin spas, and passive stretching: $160
Because deep tissue massage is recognized as a medical solution for issues related to chronic illness and accident-related health problems, your health insurance may cover your deep tissue massage costs. Always be sure to check with your insurance provider before starting treatment to verify that the massage therapist you want to work with is recognized by your company. You will also want your massage therapist to provide any paperwork you need to submit to your insurance provider.
What is a deep tissue massage?
Deep tissue massage is a bodywork technique that promotes healing. Deep tissue massages are provided by trained massage therapists who have been taught the proper techniques to loosen and heal the fascia (connective tissue) that binds your muscles, organs and other soft body structures. If you have had an acute injury, repetitive pain problems or a chronic illness, and adhesions (tight knots) have formed in your connective tissue, movement can be restricted and painful. The techniques of deep tissue massage help to loosen these adhesions and restore ease to formerly tight and painful areas_. _Deep tissue massages are generally not inherently painful to receive, but they do work on tender areas that can feel slightly sore afterward, so it is always important to communicate with your massage therapist about the level of pressure you need. In addition to feeling terrific, deep tissue massages are medically useful for healing and recovery. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health cites the following health conditions that deep tissue massage can relieve:
- Chronic low back pain, chronic neck pain, and osteoarthritis of the knee
- Labor pains
- Cancer patients experience reduced pain, increased relaxation, and improved mood
- Relief from depression and anxiety
- Fibromyalgia — reduction of pain and fatigue
- Preterm infant health
When you have your first deep tissue massage, the massage therapist will hold an intake interview with you to learn about your health concerns (if any) and the level of pressure you would like during the massage. You can always adjust pressure during the massage, so be sure to communicate during your session if you need any changes. The massage therapist may ask you about any previous massage experience you've had and if you have any injuries or sensitivities._ Patients typically remove their clothing for the massage; the massage therapist leaves the room to allow you undress and cover yourself with a sheet, or draping, on the massage table. During the massage, the massage therapist will move the draping around to work on different parts of your body while keeping you fully covered. _You can also choose to keep your clothing on if you prefer. If you do, be sure to dress in something loose and comfortable.
Deep tissue vs. Swedish massage
Deep tissue massage and Swedish massage are both types of therapeutic bodywork whose goals is to aid in relaxation, relieve pain and promote overall wellness. A major difference in the two modalities is the area of the body that is targeted. The strokes used in Swedish massage loosen and relax the top layer of your soft tissues. The strokes used in deep tissue massage work deep under the surface to release adhesions and knots in the fascia (connective tissue) around your muscles and organs. Some massage therapists charge more for deep tissue massage than lower-pressure massage techniques such as Swedish massage because of the increased physical effort required. Here's an example of this pricing difference from a provider in Texas:
- One hour of Swedish massage: $60
- One hour of advanced technique or deep tissue massage: $75
Swedish massage is often selected as a way to promote relaxation and release stress, as a way to loosen muscles or to ease pain in a specific area. Deep tissue massage is often used to address deeper and longer-term pains and health challenges. For example, if you were in a serious car accident as a child and suffered severe whiplash, you may have residual problems, even as an adult. Deep tissue massage can work to relieve that long-term neck pain. Or, if you had a bad knee from playing soccer for years and still have stiffness, deep tissue massage can release some of that scar tissue and allow more freedom of movement in your joints. But you don't have to live with pain for years to enjoy the benefits of deep tissue massage. If you have a desk job and spend a lot of time hunched over a computer, deep tissue massage can prevent future back and neck pain. Whatever your reason for seeking out this form of healing treatment, if you have any existing health concerns, always talk with your health care provider before introducing deep tissue massage into your care routine.
- Read client reviews to make sure you're choosing the right massage therapist for you. For more, check out our tips for smart hiring.