In deep tissue massage, you apply pressure with your hands, arms, and body weight to another person's muscles. Start by making sure the person is relaxed. You can use deep tissue massage on the back, arms, and legs, to name a few places, but be sure to follow a few rules for safety first.

Drape the person well. People are generally not fully clothed for deep tissue massage, and most people will not feel comfortable if they are completely exposed.Therefore, you need to cover the areas you're not working on at the moment to help the person feel more at ease.

  • You'll usually start the person face down on the table.
  • Apply massage oil. Use a bit of oil on your hands. You don't need a large amount of oil for deep massage. Use broad strokes across the person's back to help spread out the oil. The heat from the strokes will also help melt the oil.
  • Check in with the person to see if they have any allergies to particular oils.
  • Use some gliding. Gently run your hands over the person's skin. You don't want to start with working on deep tissue, as that will cause the person to tense up. Light gliding helps get the person warmed up and relaxes them, so that you can move on to deep tissue.
  • Basically, you'll use your whole hand to rub over the area where you'll be doing deep tissue massage. You'll only be applying light pressure at this time, just enough so your hands are felt.
  • Massage with your fingers together. Use your whole hand with the fingers together. If you spread your fingers apart, you're more likely to pinch the muscle, which can be painful. Pretend you're sculpting clay, whether you're gliding your hands over the person or moving on to deep tissue.
  • Use the palm of your hand. As you move through the first gentle strokes, you'll feel the muscles start to warm up. When they do, you can use the palm of your hand and your body weight to start adding pressure to the strokes. Move your hand along the muscle that runs beside the spine down the length of the back. Apply pressure in slow, even strokes.
  • Try not to put pressure on any bone or the spine.
  • Massage with your fingertips. Once the muscles have warmed up a bit more, start using your fingertips instead. You can use very small sideways strokes or a light rocking motion along the muscles, still keeping your fingertips together. Run your hands from the bottom of the back up to the shoulder.

  • Use your forearm to apply pressure on the back. Starting at the shoulder, place the forearm on the inner part of the back. Applying pressure with your body weight, run your forearm on the muscle that goes along the outside of the spine. Your forearm should glide from the upper body down the back in a fluid motion.
  • Go sideways along the bottom of the back. As your forearm reaches the bottom area of the back, turn your arm sideways to go just above the buttocks. Take the arm up the back along the outer edge and around to the shoulder. With your hand towards the ground, move your arm down the shoulder towards the chest as you finish up.

A deep tissue massage shouldn't be overly painful. A little bit of pain may be okay, but if you notice the person is clenching their muscles or curling their toes, it's too much. You need to adjust your approach to make it softer. You can also check in with the person, asking them if it feels okay.