Deep tissue massage is a technique that uses slow but deliberate strokes, focusing the pressure on a specific problem.
The areas targeted are usually layers of muscles, tendons, and/or other deep tissues under your skin.
This is meant to handle injury rehabilitation, chronic muscle pain, back sprain, and other contracted areas like a stiff upper back or neck, low back pain, sore shoulders, and leg muscle tightness.
Some strokes may feel similar to those used in Swedish massage, but deep tissue massage ideally helps break up scar tissue, and break muscle knots or adhesions physically, especially those that can cause pain, limited range of motion, inflammation, and disrupt circulation.
While massage therapists use friction and stripping techniques during deep tissue massage, applying pressure using their knuckles, elbows, fingertips, hands, and forearms, there’s a way you can do it on your own using a deep tissue massager machine.
What Is A Deep Tissue Massager?
A deep tissue massager targets the area you’re feeling pain or discomfort and intensifies the massage around there for revitalization and relaxation.
They provide flexibility and more energy as they come with power connection cables or rechargeable batteries, and come close to a relaxing massage by a therapist using his arms and fingers to relieve your muscles.
You can use a deep tissue massager anywhere on your body – neck, shoulder, back, arms, thighs, and legs, to soothe discomfort from sore muscles and release body stiffness.
Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage
Massage helps your mind and body to relax, which makes getting one beneficial to your overall well being. However, deep tissue massages have specific benefits that ordinary massages may not offer including:
- Easing pain – Deep tissue massages can help ease pain in some parts of the body, plus with conditions like fibromyalgia and other pain-based conditions, with lower levels of depression and anxiety reported after therapy.
- Eases movement – When your body is injured and heals afterwards, it forms scar tissue. Most common scars result from visible cuts, which sometimes may occur deeper within your body like when you damage ligaments, muscles, or tendons. This kind of scarring can be resolved by deep tissue massage and eases movement while promoting a better range of motion.
- Improves heart and lung functions – Deep tissue massage benefits many internal organs of your body too. It improves lung function, lowers systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate, plus makes the lungs function better.
- Effective relief from stress – If you’re stressed from work or home demands, deep tissue massage can ease and relieve you of this stress in a healthy way. Unresolved stress can damage your physical and mental health, which constitutes 80 percent of visits to the doctor’s office. It can also ease chronic tension headaches.
- Improves social bonding – Massage can facilitate social bonding as it increases your body’s release of the hormone oxytocin, which Medical News Today says is associated with trust, empathy, sexual activity, and relationship building.
Best Deep Tissue Massagers
We’ve rounded up 10 of the best deep tissue massagers you can use right now to help you feel better after working out or after a long day at work.
This is a placid but powerful deep tissue massager with six multi-tip massage heads that use acupressure to provide deep tissue massage, besides Shiatsu and Swedish massage techniques.
You can change the machine’s motor speeds in order to get impeccable control over the intensity of the massage.
It’s not only versatile but noiseless, lightweight, and cordless.
It comes with an adjustable ‘percussion’ mode as the default, which you can change to ‘vibration’, plus an oil stick you can use to apply massaging oil to hard-to-reach spots.
You can also use it to massage your scalp and ease migraines or headaches to relax and enjoy better circulation.
This is one of the best deep tissue massagers known for its power and ability to defeat tight muscle knots.
It can reach up to 2,000 rounds per minute and exerts pressure on the difficult spots where you feel the most discomfort without using your own strength to do it.
It’s durable and endorsed by renowned world athletes, plus its 90-degree articulating head helps you reach every spot with ease.
This massager is designed to relieve tension and pain in areas such as the muscles, feet, back, neck, legs, and shoulders.
It comes with a powerful motor and safety design, plus it is cordless, so you can carry it around with you.
It also has five attachment heads that allow you to knead the painful spots firmly, and you can change between them for different effects.
Two of these heads are firm and round, for a firmer and deeper massage if you want more intensity on muscle knots, while the other three-point heads offer a wider area meant for percussion therapy.
The main drawbacks of this machine are that the vibration isn’t as strong, plus it’s quite heavy and hard to hold if you’re going to do longer massages.
This hand-held massager is designed to deliver deep tissue massage over a wide area of tissue thanks to its double-head functionality.
It’s a professional strength massager with a powerful motor, and it’s easy to use, non-slip, and with comfortable padded rubber grip while you’re massaging the difficult spots.
Although it’s slightly bulky, this massager is designed to imitate the masseuse’s hands for better circulation and relaxation.
It isn’t battery-powered though, so you have to keep it plugged in as you use it, making it less flexible and more awkward especially for self-massage.
This massager comes with six interchangeable massage nodes that are adjustable and it’s cordless and rechargeable.
It offers 100 minutes of use on a single charge, plus you can customize your massage and work out the tight muscle knots with its powerful motor.
Some users may find it hard to use, and uncomfortably heavy, but it offers plenty of customization for use on different body parts.
The classic design also offers over-the-shoulder reach to massage your back, while one of its conical nodes can be used to massage your scalp.
Besides its ergonomic grip and powerful motor, you can bring this machine with you on the go as it’s cordless, and use it whenever you need to boost circulation or relieve your body from pain.
This deep tissue massager is cordless for convenience and ease of carrying around, plus it features a massage head with softer padding for better relief while using it.
The battery lasts up to 3 hours on a single charge, and its long grip allows you to reach down your back among other hard to reach areas, though the grip vibrates.
Also included are uniquely shaped massage heads for different purposes and designed to reach different parts of your body, plus a dial to adjust the speed and intensity as you go.
Its Flex X massage head is uniquely shaped with ridges and grooves for myofascial release over a wider area, plus there are two small nodes with a hollow for massaging spinal muscles without hurting your bones.
It may be heavy for some users, and its power may not be enough for some, despite being a cordless massager machine.
The Thumper Mini Pro massager is a deep tissue massager with patented percussive action, ideal for an all-round massage.
Its heavy-duty percussion is designed to offer deep tissue penetration to penetrate all fascial layers and relieve muscle tension.
Unlike other massagers that have interchangeable massage heads, the Thumper Mini Pro has one permanent massage head with two spheres, which are designed anatomically to be used on your shoulder, back, legs, and feet.
If you want a corded massager with robust power, this is the best one for you.
It runs on a heavy-duty DC motor, and its energy is directed straight into the muscle tissues.
The main drawbacks of this machine are the uncomfortable grip made of hard, rectangular plastic instead of rubber, plus it isn’t easy to hold because of the weight of its massage head.
Similarly, it isn’t cordless, and there’s only one massage head so you can’t use it on all areas of your body, especially the delicate ones.
This deep tissue massager is a professional model that comes with a vibrator option and infrared heat mode that helps ease out aching muscles while encouraging blood circulation to the problem areas.
When you press the button on/off once, the infrared heat option comes on, and you can use it for up to 140 degrees (Fahrenheit), within six minutes while it’s on.
You can relax muscle knots and destress after exercise or workouts, soothe arthritis aches, and hurting feet or fibromyalgia, among other issues.
It’ll calm them all.
The machine features three interchangeable massage nodes and you can adjust the speeds to the intensity you want, plus its handle is non-slippery and maneuverable.
If you’re on the go, this machine is portable and lightweight, though you need to connect it with a six-foot-long cord so it may not be as convenient as a cordless one.
This massager is designed to offer deep tissue massages for your back and other areas to ease out muscle fatigue and body pain.
Its deep-kneading action lets you massage your upper back, neck, joints, mid-back, and difficult to reach lower back with precision, which makes it one of the best deep tissue massagers with vibration.
It has variable speeds you can choose based on the level you desire, so if you want low intensity, a prolonged massage or even a deep vigorous tissue knead, you can change it to your liking.
Its three interchangeable heads enhance the massage experience, plus it has extras like an acupoint attachment, four-finger flex attachment, and raised bump attachment for more relief from aches and pains.
If you experience pain while kneeling, the massager keeps the quadriceps muscles flexible by massaging the kneecap and relaxing them, which benefits the tendons and ligaments.
It’s a great massager for aches and pains associated with arthritis, sports injuries, and fibromyalgia.
The Brookstone deep tissue hand-held massager is a favorite with athletes, as it offers deep percussion action that penetrates aching, tight muscles in your body and increases blood circulation for better flexibility and sleep.
Its speeds are customizable, plus it has three interchangeable nodes for the massage your exhausted muscles really need.
The pinpoint node precisely targets sore spots, while general spots can be handled using the ball node.
Another node is the wide-coverage node that works on large muscle clusters to deal with the aches and pains all over the body.
This machine helps speed up recovery from soreness after a workout at the gym and gets you back on track in no time.
Unlike other massage types, deep tissue massage is great for you if you’re actively engaged in highly physical activities like working out at the gym, running, or if you experience chronic pain and/or injuries.
If you have a low pain threshold and need relief from muscle tension, you can opt for the Swedish massage as it’s much gentler, and could be a better option.
Ideally, your physician should guide you as to which type of massage to choose before you delve into a deep tissue massage, especially if you have any underlying medical issues.
Any of our 10 best deep tissue massager picks can work for you, but it depends also on your needs and preferences, plus your budget.
Some are cordless, others require plugging into a power outlet, while others have more features like attachment heads and nodes, and much more.
Diana Paul is a certified nutritionist who writes for leading health blogs. She is a master herbalist, yoga teacher, forager, and wild-crafting writer She is focused on helping people transform life blocks to opportunities. Based in NYC, she often holds health seminars and lectures.