You could be forgiven for thinking that deep tissue massage and sports massage are pretty much identical. While there is some general overlap between these two massage types, they are in fact unique in different ways.
Deep tissue massage vs sports massage – the method
In order to understand the differences between these two massage types, you first need to know what each one involves. What is deep tissue massage then? Essentially, this is when firm pressure is applied to the body’s deeper tissues. When considering what is sports massage, this is also a type of deep tissue massage that uses many of the same strokes and movements, such as kneading and tapping. We also call it deep muscle recovery.
The key difference is that deep tissue massage tends to be given as part of a full body massage or focused on the upper or lower parts of the body, while a sports massage is usually more targeted, covering a much smaller area of the body. Although many of the techniques used are similar, there tends to be more stretching involved with sports massage and focus on the soft tissue. Sports massage therapists also generally have a greater knowledge of the human anatomy.
Deep tissue massage vs sports massage – the treatment goal
When deciding what massage is best for you, think about what you want to get out of it. The goals of a deep tissue massage differ from those of a sports massage.
Deep tissue massage focuses on reducing muscle tension and knots, accumulation of toxins and improving blood flow to muscles. Whereas a sports massage is geared towards preventing a specific injury or healing an existing injury, which may or may not have been caused by a sports-related incident. A sports massage may also be given to improve range of motion and imbalances, which could aid physical performance. While tense knots are also manipulated during a sports massage, these tend to be older and bigger compared to those manipulated during a deep tissue massage.
Deep tissue massage or sports massage – what’s best for you?
People who exercise a lot are more likely to opt for a sports massage compared to a deep tissue massage. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes people who suffer from tension or injury in a specific part of their body can benefit from the more targeted approach offered by sports massage therapy.
Wider groups of people tend to choose deep tissue massage. In particular, if you sit at a desk all day long and suffer from a poor posture, as well as pain and stiffness in the back and neck, a deep tissue massage can help tackle these multiple issues.
Because of the similarities, when considering a deep tissue massage vs sports massage, ultimately it’s wise to seek advice from a trained therapist to find out which is the right option for you.
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