What is it?

Deep tissue massage means that layers of tissue are mobilized, stretched, and compressed.  This is our most commonly requested style of care, and for good reason: it feels good and it works!  Our style of deep tissue strives to maintain a balance between effective depth and your “relaxation response”.  


As well, similar to how we grow muscle by lifting weights, deep tissue massage can facilitate a prolonged release of tension in muscle.  If you want to build muscle, you lift weights to break the fibres of muscle apart to enable stronger tissue to grow. In other words, ‘bones go where muscles put them and bones stay where muscles keep them’ (credit Dawn Donovan, RMT / article on Back Pain with the Canadian College of Massage & Hydrotherapy).

Similarly, if you want to relax muscle, deep tissue massage can help separate muscle fibres to lengthen the tissue that has been shortened by poor posture or injury. 

It is important to note that deep tissue does equate deep pain! Overall, we at Sore Spots do not subscribe to the idea of ‘no pain, no gain’. We honour the Gate theory of pain when it comes to how we treat tissue on a deep level.  During our treatments, we focus on communication to ensure that both therapist and client are on the same page when it comes to depth and pressure. 

Available: Halifax Location, Dartmouth Location


  • Relaxes muscles and joints

  • Facilitates greater range of motion

  • Enhances mind - body connection

  • Stimulates “rest and digest” response

  • Reduces scar tissue within the muscle

  • Relief for sore feet, achy back, stiff muscles, tight hips, shoulder pain, neck pain, general tension, scar tissue

History of Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue therapy can also be called General Swedish Massage (GSM) and has long been considered the industry standard for insurable treatment in Canada.

Historically, massage has been a part of gymnastics or exercise, midwifery, and as part of healing rituals in Shamanic cultures.

Previously, it was thought that Peter Henry Ling (also Per Henrick Ling; 1776-1837) was the founding father of GSM. Driven by his own chronic pain, Ling sought to soothe his afflictions by passively kneading his muscles, which Ling referred to as “medical gymnastics”. While using medical gymnastics in conjunction with the sport of fencing, Ling noticed that his chronic pain lessened. Ling was determined to educate people about his findings, and so in 1813 he founded the Royal Central Gymnastic Institute to emphasize the positive effects that movement had on both body and mind. 

Though he was using techniques that massage therapist still employ today (cupping, kneading, frictions), Ling did not refer to his practices as massage, and was more focused on gymnastic movements than massage itself.

Today, many authors give credit to Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger (1838 - 1909)  for the principles of GSM, including the French vocabulary commonly used to describe massage.  Mezger simplified the passive movements of GSM into four major categories - effleurage, petrissage, frictions, and tapotement - that are still used by massage therapist today.

Mezger is now considered the father of GSM, and the first to create a system of massage therapy as a stand-alone healing art that was adopted by various standards around the world.  

Credit: The History of Massage, Robert Noah Calvert