I recently bought a Groupon for two 30-minute massages at a local spa here in Austin. I used to get absolutely wonderful massages from a lady in Cambridge, England. She had a knack for getting the kinks of of my back after I had been sitting hunched over for long periods of time to either a) revise or b) write my Masters thesis. There are two types of massages that spas commonly offer: Swedish and Deep Tissue. I've had a Swedish massage before, which was nice but not quite as firm as I wanted. I'd always read that the deep tissue massage was supposed to really loosen muscles up, so I opted for that one.
I arrived to a reception area filled with peaceful, water-themed music. My first thought was, "how in the world does the receptionist stay awake??" And no trace of caffeine-laden drinks anywhere! Oh right - this is a healthy establishment. Excuse me while I go place my to-go tea container in the trash...
When my masseuse came to meet me, she politely inquired, "have you ever had a deep tissue massage before?" I was unsure, but I assured her that I had been to a massage therapist for loosening muscles before. She smiled and replied, "Ah, then you know it's pretty intense." Sure....?
She wasn't kidding.
She found every single tight point on my back and pushed on it - hard. I had no idea that fingers and thumbs could produce that kind of pressure (and pain)! My father used to have a spring-loaded clamp at his desk that he would squeeze to strengthen his hands (usually while he was on the phone) - she probably had one of her own hiding in the back drawer. Several times I had to remind myself to breathe, and I thought for sure that my back was refusing to relax. I thought, "I'm going to go through all this and then have nothing to show for it!" However, by the end of the massage, I could tell that her strokes were beginning to be less painful.
As she finished, she made the comment, "you took that like a trooper!" I felt rather pleased with myself, but then got taken down a few pegs when I almost couldn't open the door. My muscles are as sore as if I did a difficult back workout - if only that was the reason, right?
I feel slightly looser, but I have yet to see if the pain was worth it. I think the deep tissue massage would be most beneficial if done regularly, so that my back doesn't kink up past recognition between visits. I would recommend this type of massage if you have tight muscles, but be forewarned - the feel-good part only comes afterward, because the deep tissue massage means business!