What the heck is Deep Tissue Massage?
In 2016 a student of mine came to tell me a story. She has taken many of my workshops and is a great bodyworker although being in the field a short time. Let’s call her Jane going forward.
Jane was looking for a job in the massage industry and decided to go back to her school and use some of the job placement services offered there. The counselor took a look at her resume and noticed that Jane didn’t have any classes titled ‘Deep Tissue’.
“You need to have Deep Tissue experience on your resume” the counselor said. Jane mentioned all the class she took and especially the classes she took under the Morales Method® but the counselor was adamant. “You need to have Deep Tissue experience if you’re going to get a job around here”
The counselor advised Jane take one of the Deep Tissue class offered at their school and Jane signed up.
During the workshop, which was over three days, Jane was frustrated about the level of instruction. Jane noticed that although the class was labeled as an advanced class, the techniques and the teaching were remedial for her level of knowledge and she ended up helping the teacher and other students when it came time to practice. Jane left the course feeling like she didn’t get her money’s worth and then contacted me.
Going forward a brief re-telling of our conversation as I can best remember it.
Jane: Marty, why don’t you call your classes ‘Deep Tissue’ instead of what you do call them?
Me: Jane, I’m not interested in calling my classes ‘Deep Tissue’ because my classes cover more than just how to work deeply. All the classes I teach show myo-fascial techniques that enable you to work deeply and effectively but the ultimate goal is not just that but how to get clients out of pain.
Jane: So, what should I do if I’m told I need to have ‘Deep Tissue’ on my resume?
Me: I would suggest that you talk about what you learned in the classes you’ve taken. Employers are interested in what you can do not necessarily the name of the workshop you took. There is an association with ‘Deep Tissue’ but it’s not the only game in town.
Jane: So what the heck is Deep Tissue anyhow?
Me: That’s a great question! (Before I answer that I will first say to the reader that I was trained in Deep Tissue Massage by Art Riggs and his program is part of the Morales Method®. I was influenced by his training to seek further training as a Structural Integration practitioner). I do know that one of the main goals of Deep Tissue training is to be able to work deeper layers of tissue in an effective manner. Proper body mechanics and proper palpation techniques may or may not be part of the instructor’s curriculum. These goals however are not just isolated to Deep Tissue Massage. Many other modalities offer this type of training. Why is Deep Tissue Massage so often sought by employers and clients?
The reason is popularity. Both employers and clients have heard the term Deep Tissue Massage for decades and feel this is what they need to ‘get the job done’. They may not know of other modalities who don’t employ the term but employ the principles and techniques to ‘get the job done’.
Our goal as practitioners is to be of service and education is part of that service. We not only work with clients in that respect but we also work with employers and other practitioners to share with them what we do.
So, the next time someone asks you, “Do you know Deep Tissue” say yes, because you do. The next time a potential employer asks you “Have you taken a Deep Tissue class” tell them you have been trained in the Morales Method and you know how to work myo-fascial tissue effectively and deeply and how to problem solve client issues. Your class may not have been called “Deep Tissue” but you can work the tissue deeply and effectively!
To my reader, I want to be clear that I am not putting down any other deep tissue training. Students will find plenty of knowledge wherever they seek it. The purpose of this article is to start to question the paradigm that only one way of working meets certain needs. Instead of asking, “What modality will my client or employer like to see on my resume” we should be asking, “How can the techniques/what I’ve learned from the modalities I’ve trained in help my client”. This is a paradigm shift I’m seeking to make.