Whilst there are many types of massage therapy, there are two fundamental categories: relaxation massage and rehabilitative massage. With rehabilitative massage, the most common approaches are sports massage and deep tissue massage. Although they are similar in that they use the same basic techniques, they have key differences. Read on to find out what they are, and which treatment is right for you.
What is a sports massage?
A sports massage is used to treat certain types of injuries, improve posture and boost athletic conditioning, enabling athletes to perform at their best. Athletes may require sports massage to correct the damage done by trauma, muscle imbalances or poor biomechanics. Several techniques can be used to achieve results by realigning and loosening affected muscle fibres. Sports massage can also increase range of motion and help with injury prevention by relaxing the muscles surrounding the joints.
What is a deep tissue massage?
A deep tissue massage is used to address issues with the muscles. Long, slow strokes are used to put pressure on the muscles, helping to relieve stiffness and pain. This type of massage can help those who have chronic pain, soreness or fatigue. As well as relaxing any trigger points, breaking down knots and encouraging blood flow, deep tissue massage can also be very relaxing. Many people enjoy this type of massage simply to help them unwind during periods of stress.
What are the key differences?
Sports massage and deep tissue massage are similar in terms of the strokes and techniques used. They both tend to use circular movements, kneading, tapping and vibrations to produce results. However, there are some notable differences between the two. These include:
• Type of injury – Whilst deep tissue massage is helpful for many different muscular issues, sports massage is usually used in a more targeted way to help heal sports-related injuries.
• Age of injury – Sports massage is most helpful for reducing pain from repetitive motions carried out over a long period of time. It can help to repair chronic injuries. Deep tissue massage instead focuses more on new instances of pain in the muscles.
• Area of the body – Whilst a deep tissue massage will often be a full body massage, a sports massage tends to be more focused, targeting areas of the body that are painful or injured.
Is sports massage or deep tissue massage right for me?
If you have an overuse injury on a specific part of the body or you want to enhance conditioning to improve your performance, sports massage may be more appropriate. A sports massage before you play sport can also help to prevent injuries. However, if you’re seeking more general pain relief from the muscles or simply want to relax, a deep tissue massage might be best. Deep tissue massages have lots of benefits, including enhancing circulation and reducing toxins.