Deep tissue is different than swedish in so many ways. Deep tissue is extremely focused work. We work on one small area at a time, usually a knot within the muscle. Deep tissue is intended to work trough superficial tissues to get to the deeper tissues. The deeper tissues are usually the problematic ones causing the pain. Deep tissue is different than Deep pressure. You can provide deep pressure to superficial muscles and not usually deeper tissues, that is when in transitions to Deep tissue.
Deep tissue breaks up adhesions (muscles fibers stuck together), and realigns fibers. This helps reduce pain and increase blood flow and movement. Deep tissue is done with a firm, constant, slow deep pressure. Communication between patient and massage therapist (LMT) is huge. You, the patient, is in control of the depth, to some degree, as you are telling the LMT when it is uncomfortable/painful. At Stress Waived we were taught that massage should never be painful. Pain makes the muscles tighten up, which is counter productive to what we are trying to accomplish, and of course it hurts.
A good analogy is: Take a balloon, blow it up. Now hold your hands on opposite sides of the balloon. Take a finger from each hand and point it into the center of the balloon. Now push each finger, from the opposite side towards the center until they touch. This is very possible, you have just have to go slow enough, at the pace of the balloon. The balloon has to stretch around your fingers pressure.If you go to fast-you pop the balloon. This is the way the muscles have to respond during Deep Tissue pressure. The speed the LMT can go depends on how quickly the muscle lets go and allows the pressure to occur. The LMT follows the release of the muscle by providing constant pressure as the muscle relaxes. If the LMT goes to quickly the muscle will tighten to protect itself (so it doesn't "break" like the balloon).
To make progress with pain reduction, Deep tissue treatment usually takes several appointments. This allows the muscle to react to the pressure it got and learn that this newer position (of release) is ok and good. The muscle is used to being tight so we basically have to "retrain" the muscle.
Deep tissue can be used on almost any muscle. It works well with certain conditions such as: Fibromyalgia, Tennis Elbow, Lower back pain, and so much more.
After a Deep tissue treatment you MUST drink lots of water. You need to flush the toxins(created from the muscle contractions), and hydrate the cells (having been "squished" by the tight muscle.