Massages are typically viewed in correspondence with spa days; featuring candles, soft music and fluffy dressing gowns. However, what is often overlooked is how many varieties of massage are available, particularly at the hands of trained physiotherapists who work with your body to understand the aches and pains, and the treatments you need to overcome them.
Getting a massage is generally associated with mental wellbeing, but what we tend to forget are the massage techniques which are designed to aid muscle recovery and promote more comfortable physical activity. The massages to which we are referring are deep tissue massage and sports massage.
The first thing to point out is that sports massage is essentially a branch off of the deep tissue tree, using the techniques included in a traditional deep tissue massage – with a few additions to encourage specific benefits.
If you’re searching for a deep tissue massage,you are just as likely to be directed towards a physiotherapist as a massage therapist, due to the similarities and links between the two variations – with sports massage often being performed by a physiotherapist owing to the firm pressure and injury rehabilitation that is involved. In short, if you’re opting for either of these massage types, you will certainly want a professional.
However, that’s not to say that every time your body is feeling tense you should be going straight in at the deep end with a full-blown sports massage. More often than not, tension in the muscles is a far more general ailment, and an overall treatment that works all of the main muscles of your body will be sufficient to promote blood flow and recovery. Massage therapists often refer to “knots” in the body, and will spend much of the treatment focussing on relaxing these tight tissues by applying firm pressure to them. A deep tissue massage is designed to be firm but should not be painful, and if you experience any pain you should let the therapist know immediately.
A sports massage on the other hand, is far more targeted and will be undertaken in light of minor or ongoing injuries that are causing problems – often when the individual is undergoing some form of physical activity. Sports massage includes a great deal more stretching and active techniques, rather than simply allowing the therapist to work the knots and tension out of the body, as realigning and loosening the overused muscles is a large part of the treatment – resulting in an increase of the joints’ range of motion, and rehabilitation and prevention of any further injury.
To give you an idea of when each treatment is appropriate, sports massages are generally offered at the end of a sporting event; namely marathons and other long-distance races, as sports massage therapists will be trained to deal with the aches and pains associated with over-exertion and other sporting injuries. Deep tissue massage, on the other hand, maybe chosen by someone who is suffering from a bad back, increasing or chronic pain and stiffness in the legs or knees, or someone who feels overly tense.