5 Dangers Of Deep Tissue Massage!

We Can’t Stop Raving About It!

If you’re looking for a post that goes over deep tissue massage benefits, this isn’t it. Today, I take a completely different approach. Today we’ll look at the dangers of deep tissue massage, and specifically:

What happens when things go wrong?

What are some of the adverse side effects associated with this massage type?

Don’t worry though, I still love me some deep tissue and that will never change. That being said, the purpose of this post is simply to provide insight and educate!


The 5 Dangers Of Deep Tissue Massage!

It’s important to note that the 5 dangers presented here may not all be applicable to you specifically. Always consult with your physician before commencing a massage regimen!


#1 Risk Of Fracture

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about massage, it’s that every therapist has a slightly different technique and style. That’s not to say a well trained therapist can’t adjust his/her technique to suit a client’s needs. But that’s hardly the problem!

The problem arises when excessive pressure is applied to a patient’s body!

And when excessive pressure is applied, fracture is certainly a possibility. Is it an exaggeration? Not in my opinion, no.

Excessive Pressure Can Result In A Fracture!
Excessive Pressure Can Result In A Fracture!

There is good news, however. The chances of getting a fracture from deep tissue work is relatively low. Most therapists today are well trained, and certified. But sometimes the cause of fracture has nothing to do with the therapist….it could be because a patient forgot to mention an existing medical condition (Osteoporosis for example). Pro tip: disclose everything!


#2 Tissue Tears

In Paul Ingraham’s post titled “The Pressure Question In Massage Therapy”, he speaks about 3 types of pain: good, bad, and ugly. According to Paul, ugly pain is that which is caused by overly excessive pressure. It’s the level of pain that can result in damage (source: The Pressure Question In Massage Therapy). I reference Paul’s article because it exposes a well known myth in the massage industry:

The myth of no pain, no gain!

Not Necessarily True For Massage!
Not Necessarily True For Massage!

Some therapists are hell bent on the no pain, no gain principle. If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not effective. This sort of mindset can be very problematic for a number of reasons:

  1. It can do more harm than benefit—Too much pressure can cause serious problems such as tissue tears, fractures (as discussed above), and sever bruising.
  2. It takes away from the experience—Unless your idea of relaxation involves sitting through 1 hour of vicious tugging, pulling, and pressing!

There’s obviously many more reasons why overly excessive pressure is bad, but I won’t go through them here. I suggest you check out Paul’s article (linked above) for more information. He shares some very interesting stories of people who’ve had nightmare massage experiences!


#3 Blood Clots

If you suffer from blood clots, it’s very important you speak to your doctor & therapist before doing deep tissue work. The reasoning behind this is that deep tissue massage may force a blood clot to break free and travel in the blood stream, and this can lead to serious health issues.

I know, who would’ve thought right!?

Don’t believe me? Check out this article titled “When Is Massage Dangerous?” from Dr. Andrew Weil. As you go through each of these tips, you probably notice a recurring theme: speak to your doctor beforehand, and disclose everything to your therapist! Hopefully you can now see that it’s not a waste of time.


#4 Deep Tissue Massage & Cancer

In my post titled “9 times you shouldn’t get a massage”, I spoke about how Cancer patients should seek medical advice before beginning  massage. But why? What are the dangers of deep tissue massage to cancer patients?

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to have a single answer apply across the board!

There’s a myth circulating that suggests cancerous cells and tumors can disintegrate and spread faster via lymph fluid when subjected to deep tissue pressure. Based on my research, I see that there is very little truth to this. The Canadian Cancer Society reflects this in their article about massage therapy (source: Canadian Cancer Society). The same has also been noted on the Cancer Council Australia site. You can check out that article by clicking here. Still don’t believe me? Watch the video below (all credit to Live Sonima).

However, that doesn’t mean deep tissue massage specifically is 100% completely safe for all cancer patients. For those with cancer that has spread to the bone, deep tissue can potentially break or fracture bone (source: Canadian Cancer Society).

Look, I’m no doctor so I can’t give medical advice!

The only advice I can give is to consult with your oncologist/doctor if you’re planning on getting a deep tissue massage. Don’t take this advice with a grain of salt!


#5 If Done Incorrectly, It Results In A Negative Experience!

If done properly, deep tissue massage not only feels great but it’s also incredibly beneficial. The problems happen when therapists incorrectly abuse the technique. Earlier on, I touched on how excessive pressure can cause all sorts of trouble from fractures to tissue tears, but there’s another problem:

A single negative experience may completely alter an individual’s perception of deep tissue massage!

And that’s a big problem, because there really is so much good that can come from deep tissue massage. Don’t believe me? Do a quick google search, and read up on the benefits. To me the biggest of the 5 dangers of deep tissue massage is this last one, simply because more and more people are less likely to experience the benefits if they’ve had a bad experience first time round.

Did You Say Deep Tissue Massage? Not A Chance!
Did You Say Deep Tissue Massage? Not A Chance!


3 Common Side Effects Of Deep Tissue Massage!

We’ve looked at the 5 dangers of deep tissue massage, now let’s look at 3 very common side effects.

3 Deep Tissue Massage Side Effects 

#1 Soreness

Soreness is a common side effect of all massage, not just deep tissue.

Your muscles are sore because they’ve been pulled, stretched, and manipulated!

Is it a bad thing? Usually not, and your body should recover within a couple days. Remember to take a warm bath/shower, and drink lots of water, as this can help speed up recovery!


#2 Drowsy & Tired

Another common side effect especially after deep tissue massage, and one of my personal favorite! I love the “drowsy” feeling because it helps me sleep easier at night. How do you feel better?

Listen to what your body is telling you! Get some shut eye!


#3 Hot Red Skin

Doesn’t happen to me much anymore, but I know people who get red like a tomato after deep tissue! Why does this happen? It’s simple.

All those firm strokes not only stretch your muscles, they also push out toxins and improve blood circulation.

As such, skin redness after massage is common and usually not something you should be concerned about.


If There’s One Takeaway From This Post!

If there’s one thing you should takeaway from this post, it’s the importance of having clear communication with your therapist, irrespective of your condition.

It's In Your Best Interest!
It’s In Your Best Interest!

Your therapist is in the business of healing by touch, so reading your mind is kinda out of their scope. A trained, qualified therapist knows how important it is to provide care and comfort to the patient, but they need to work with you to achieve this. Lastly, there’s one more thing I want to remind you of, and that is to:

Always speak to your doctor before commencing a massage regimen, deep tissue or otherwise!

We’ve seen the dangers of deep tissue massage above, but the good news is that most of these dangers can all be prevented if we seek guidance from our doctors and therapists.


What About You? I’m Sure You Have Some Stories!

What are your crazy massage stories when things didn’t quite pan out as you expected. What were the results? Hopefully no broken bones or torn tissue! You know what, let’s make things interesting:

Leave a comment below telling me about your worst massage experience of all time!

And don’t forget to include the juicy details!

Finally, I hope you enjoyed reading and got some value out of this post. If you did, a share on social media (Facebook and the likes) would be hugely appreciated. If you didn’t, let me know what I can do to make it better. After all, I do write for you guys, so anything I can do to improve will definitely be considered. Have an awesome week, and i’ll see you in the next post!

About Eve

Just an average bloke intrigued by massage and its incredible benefits. Oh, did I mention I also own a massage chair? More on that in the blog posts!

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