While relaxation massage stimulates the skin and underlying nerves, deep tissue penetrates into the 'deeper' tissues of the body. Deep tissue releases uncomfortable congestion and adhesions, knots and trigger points while resetting the muscle to a normal length and tension. Deep tissue detoxifies and rejuevenates the body by flushing and recylcing wastes or stagnant fluids in the body. Deep tissue may exert more pressure on the tissue but should not hurt. It should feel good! Swedish massage is the modality that begins to involve deeper structures in general.
Although most people think of increased pressure as deep tissue, true deep tissue massage involves targeting specific muscles through increasing circulation, disruption of congestion and adhesions, and retraining the muscle to be a different length via the brain. Retraining the muscle may involve client participation to stretch or contract and relax (PNF) the loosened area to facilitate the re-education of the brain to the new muscle tension, range of motion, and muscle fiber length.
Body work beyond deep tissue can include trigger point therapy, Thai yoga massage, connective tissue massage, and/or myofascia release.