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What Is The Difference Between A Sports Massage And Deep Tissue Massage?

When going in for any kind of treatment, it is vital that the patient understands what kind of procedure they are going in for. While it might not seem to be a big deal as to what kind of massage one gets, the different kinds of massages have different effects on the body, and one will want to make sure they are getting the right kind of treatment. 

A deep tissue massage is just what it’s name indicates! The purpose is to get into deeper tissue (which means deepest layers of the muscle), and release chronic tension. An example of deep tissue would be tendons. The purpose of the deep tissue massage is to dig in and try to release that extra tension. As a result, this type of massage can be uncomfortable at the times for some people. However the results felt afterwards are incredibly rewarding. In the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a study found that even just an hour session deep tissue massage could significantly lower blood pressure, and would release oxytocin and serotonin. Other effects were a change in the heart rate, and a reduction in stress hormone levels. 

During a massage, the therapist will use longer, slower strokes, in order to apply pressure on the layers underneath the more superficial tissue. While some find this kind of massage slightly uncomfortable that can be a misconception for some. Others actually find this kind of massage relaxing, and will release, as stated above, the “happy hormones” during a session. During the session, therapists will attempt to stretch and lengthen the connective tissues that surround everything in our bodies, including muscle and bone. If this type of tissue is tight, that is what will cause some of the uncomfort in movement and in the joints. 

In contrast, a sports massage focuses on the muscle itself, not the deeper layers underneath. Sports massages help active people have faster recovery periods, longer endurance, and overall better muscle performance due to the muscles not being too tight or overextended. Unlike the deep tissue massage, which is not necessarily recommended to everyone, this massage is! For anyone who is active and likes the “after exercise glow”, this massage will provide you with results! The great thing about this kind of massage is that it is customizable. No matter what your personal goals are, this massage can be tweaked and made to fit your lifestyle. Working on becoming America’s Next Ninja Warrior? No problem, this massage is for you. A dad in his 40s who has young children and is constantly on his feet at work and playing with his kids? He will definitely notice a difference after this massage. 

Additionally, getting a sports massage is not always as painful as people imagine it to be. While some people are sore after getting this type of massage, it’s not usually too bad, and with increased sessions, the soreness can almost be eliminated, so that just the good feelings are left. The level of “rigor” that your massage will be as well will depend on what you are getting it for. If you are injured, then expect scar tissue. Scar tissue means pain when stretching. So that massage might be a little more painful than an athlete who is just trying to warm up for a game. A word of warning, however, athletes should not rely on a massage to get warm for their game. Warming up is still part of injury prevention. This kind of massage can be added to that list, however.