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Sports Massage vs Relaxation Massage: Which One Is Right for You?

A massage is the right answer for just about anyone, but which TYPE of massage is right for you? Two of the main types of massage ore sports massage and relaxation massages. Within these general headings other types of massage come into consideration, such as Swedish, hot stone and deep tissue. Each of these can be beneficial to the right person, but the tricky part is finding out which one is best for you. They each have different purposes and are aimed at different needs. 

What Is a Sports Massage? 

Quite naturally, sports massage therapy is aimed at athletes or just about anyone who takes part in rigorous physical activity. It should be a proactive massage that seeks to prevent injuries before they happen, improve performance, and if necessary help in recovery from an injury or muscle pain. These massages zero in on the most often and intensively used muscles and tissues, relieving tightness and tension. 

Athletes partaking in a sports massage will find the therapists utilize deep tissue kneading, intensive stretching, and the use of friction to increase their flexibility and encourage healing. The right time to begin is before you ever start an even or activity, but can be helpful during or after events, too. 

So, Then, What Is a Relaxation Massage? 

A Swedish massage is the primary relaxation massage provided by massage therapists. It’s a gentler form of therapy aiming to relax the body’s muscles and, more than anything, reduce stress. You’ll find that a relaxation therapist uses long, flowing strokes and softer kneading to relive aching in your muscles, increase blood circulation and provide a sense of calmness. 

On the contrary, relaxation massages don’t typically go after one specific muscle group, although the therapist may ask you if there is a special area you’d like work done on. Their entire goal is to work the entire body with a light pressure and soft touch. These massages are fantastic for people who have stressful jobs, experiences anxiety or have trouble sleeping. And let’s face it, they’re also just wonderful to pamper yourself with. 

Which Massage Should You Choose? 

Truthfully, it’s not an either/or situation when it comes to sports massage vs relaxation massages. Your needs change at various points in your life, even in a given month. Athletes are not barred from getting a relaxation massage any more than the regular Jane can get a sports massage after a grueling workout at the gym. Just think about the goal of the massage. Are you trying to prevent or improve injuries? If so, go with a sports massage. If you’re stressed out and just need a chance to unwind, a relaxation massage could be the better choice. 

It could be that you want to incorporate BOTH types of massage into your session, and that’s perfectly fine, too. Talk to your massage therapist. Tell them about any issues or circumstances you’re dealing with, and rely on their advice as to the type of massage you need. 

Any way you look at it, a massage is going to offer many benefits to your physical and mental health. From relief of digestive disorders, an aching back or increased flexibility, doctors have long touted the advantages of regular massage. 

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