The ubiquitous deep tissue massage may not mean what you think it means.

Go to virtually any spa and an aggressive “deep tissue” massage is offered as an alternative to a relaxing “Swedish” massage. Over decades of marketing, deep tissue has become synonymous with deep pressure in the eyes of the public. However, true deep tissue massage has nothing to do with the pressure the therapist uses to deliver it.


Deep tissue actually refers to a massage that addresses more than just the surface layer of tissue.  True, one may use firm pressure or aggressive techniques to achieve this if the client and session goal warrants it. Conversely, one may also use gentle, slow, and light pressure techniques to access deeper layers of muscle and fascia.


Just as the term deep tissue does not prescribe a particular pressure, it also does not comprise a specific set of techniques. A therapist may use many techniques and styles of massage to access the deeper tissues of the body– including Swedish.


So, why would someone use deep tissue massage?


The team at Nimbus typically uses some form of deep tissue massage for most sessions involving relieving pain, easing muscular tension, and improving ease of movement. Sometimes a surface muscle or fascia is the only reason for the problem, but very often deeper layers are involved. The team can target different muscles or tissues at different levels to pinpoint and relieve the problem.

Nimbus therapists have a variety of different techniques in their toolboxes. They will, therefore, adjust their style and pressure to suit the needs and preferences of each client. We can accommodate people who love firm pressure as well as people who need “gentle deep tissue.”


Some massage styles that may be used to access deep tissues include Trigger Point Therapy, Neuromuscular Therapy, Thai Massage, Myofascial Release, Sports Massage, Orthopedic Massage… the list goes on and on. A few styles that do not typically address deeper tissues include Lymphatic Massage, Energy Work, and Pre/Post Surgical Massage.


Targeted Therapeutic Massage for TMJ (TMD) can help reduce jaw pain, stiffness, and more

Nimbus Massage now offers massage for TMJ (TMD). Our program is designed to relieve the pain and stiffness associated with Temporomandibular Disorders (commonly referred to as TMJ by laypersons and TMD by medical professionals). The protocol, designed by a Massage Therapist who also worked for nearly two decades as a dental hygienist, addresses the muscles in the head, neck, and shoulders that contribute to TMJ (TMD).

Try the program to:

  • Reduce pain in the head, jaw, neck, and shoulders.
  • Be able to chew or yawn more easily.
  • Restore full opening and closing of the jaw.
  • Eliminate some types of headaches related to TMJ (TMD).
  • Relieve tinnitus (ringing in the ears) related to TMJ (TMD).


This joint in the jaw – in front of the ear where the jaw hinges – may develop a number of problems including arthritis, degeneration, trauma, postural problems, or repetitive stress. Any of these, or other, root causes may lead to muscular pain and tension in the immediate or surrounding muscles. People who grind their teeth, clench their jaw, sit with their head forward, or who have an uneven bite often develop symptoms of TMJ (TMD).

In addition to muscular pain in and around the jaw, people also commonly experience headaches; grinding, clicking, or popping in the jaw; the inability to fully open the mouth; tinnitus; dizziness; or sometimes pain and tension in the neck and shoulders.

Many people report that massage complements their medically-guided protocol to relieve pain and restore proper movement to the jaws. In fact, a recent research review concluded that conservative treatment, including massage, is an optimal treatment option for TMJ (TMD).

Your therapist will methodically work though the muscles (including inside the cheek) commonly involved in TMJ (TMD). Then she or he will apply soothing heat to relax the jaw, relieve tension, and get you back to pain-free living. Typically, this protocol requires between three and six one hour sessions with follow up visits as needed.



The Rabbit Hole-

Medical Research on Massage for TMJ (TMD)

2015 Systematic Review– Abstract.  “In conclusion, there is widely varying evidence that MT improves pain, MMO and PPT in subjects with TMD signs and symptoms, depending on the technique. Further studies should consider using standardised evaluations and better study designs to strengthen clinical relevance. ”

2014 Randomized Controlled Trial– Abstract.  “Massage therapy and the use of an occlusal splint had no significant influence on electromyographic activity of the masseter or anterior temporal muscles. However, the combination of therapies led to a reduction in the intensity of signs and symptoms among individuals with severe TMD and sleep bruxism.”

2012 Review Article– Abstract with free full text available.  “Massage is an effective method in treating temporomandibular disorders. Due to the (sic) manual therapy significant improvement may be seen in the subjective and objective health status of the patient.”

2011 Case Study– Abstract with free full text available. “Results include an increase in maximal opening from 3.1 cm to 3.8 cm, an overall increase in neck range of motion, a decrease in muscle hypertonicity using the Wendy Nickel’s Scale, a decrease in pain from 7/10 to 3/10 on a numerical pain scale, and a decline in stress… more extensive studies are needed….”




Targeted = Focused on your specific problem areas.

Therapeutic = Having a therapeutic goal.

Massage = Working with your muscles. (What we do!)

Finding a way to succinctly describe what we do in a way that people will understand posed a unique challenge for us. What sets us apart? How do we describe what we do without using boring industry terms? How do we stay away from the misnomers of Swedish and Deep Tissue Massage? Targeted Therapeutic Massage seemed to fit the bill.

We use a through intake process to learn our client’s goals for the session, factors that contribute to their condition, and what has or hasn’t worked for them in the past. We then use this information to tailor our work each time someone comes in. In this way each session geared towards each client’s Therapeutic goals.

Our therapists all have years of experience that include actively learning new skills and staying up-to-date in the field. We know a number of different styles of massage and can blend them during each session in order to achieve the best results possible. If someone feels high levels of stress and anxiety then we use calming techniques to help relieve those feelings. If someone has chronic pain then we use pain-relieving techniques to help them manage their symptoms. If someone has a recent injury we use structural techniques to focus on helping them heal that area. We use our skills to Target each person’s problem areas.

We put all of this together to specialize in target sessions. In a Targeted Massage session, we focus solely on a particular problem area and its corresponding structures for an entire massage. Our clients get relief from stubborn problem areas, manage chronic pain, and improve function after trauma.


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