There are dozens of different types of massage therapy methods but two fundamental categories: rehabilitative massage and relaxation massage. With regards to rehabilitation, deep tissue massage and sports massage are the two approaches that most people have heard of. But what are the differences between these two types of treatment? And which is most appropriate for you? This is what we discuss in this week’s blog post.

What is a deep tissue massage?

As the name suggests, a deep tissue massage consists of a therapist using firm pressure to manipulate the deeper tissues of the body, including the muscles. There are a number of reasons why someone might want or need this particular type of massage therapy, such as helping relieve muscular tension, reducing stress, breaking down knots, reducing the build of toxins and increase blood flow to the muscles. Deep tissue massage tends not to focus on a specific injury or one particular area of the body, instead being administered as a full body massage or focussed on lower limbs or the upper body.

What is a sports massage?

A sports massage, on the other hand, differs in it being more area-specific, focussing on larger and older knots that have built up over longer periods of time due to high training volume, trauma, muscle imbalance or poor biomechanics. The objective with sports massage is either to aid the recovery from injury, the prevention of injury, or to assist performance through helping boost power production and the range of motion.

Is sports massage only for athletes?

Not at all. Sports massage can be an appropriate form of massage therapy for a large number of patients not undertaking any form of consistent exercise. For instance, patients sitting at a desk for long periods of time, or those working on low work surfaces, will also require the somewhat more specific tissue selection in treatment approach associated with a sports massage.

Do techniques used differ between a deep tissue and sports massage?

Although two different therapeutic approaches, the strokes and techniques used during a deep tissue and a sports massage are fairly similar, with the use of circular movements, kneading, tapping and vibrations being consistent across both. Where they differ somewhat is in the wider inclusion of passive stretching alongside a course of sports massage therapy.

Can massage therapy be painful?

In order to achieve the desired effect, a certain amount of pressure is often required when administering a sports or deep tissue massage. As such, it is not uncommon to experience a certain level of discomfort during treatment – especially when faced with a large build of tension in one particular area. This, though, is where the experience and exceptional communication of our therapists comes to the fore, helping you to achieve results without having to undergo too much discomfort.

Should you request a deep tissue or sports massage?

If, after reading this, you still feel unsure about what or not you require a sports massage or deep tissue massage, then do not worry. All appointments start with a discussion around the pain or discomfort you’re currently experiencing, your current levels of exercise and activity, and your future health-related goals and ambitions, followed by an initial assessment of areas affected.

From this starting point, our highly experienced physiotherapists and massage therapists are able to determine the best course of action to undertake, which we will talk you through in plenty of detail.

To claim your free massage therapy appointment in Sheffield, please get in touch with our friendly team today.