Massage therapy is an effective treatment for the relief of sports injuries and muscle soreness. Its benefits are more than just physical – researchers have studied the effects of massage for many other conditions, including mental health and even cancer. Numerous clinical studies and reviews have also suggested that massage therapy can reduce pain, promote relaxation, and boost a person’s mood.
However, not all massage therapists are trained to provide massage with clinical outcomes.
At PhysioActive, we often get asked this question:
“Is there any difference between a sports massage and a relaxation massage?”
There certainly is. Let me share with you more to help you choose the type of massage that best matches your health goals.
1. Sports Massage Is a Form of Clinical Massage
The key difference between a sports massage and a typical relaxation massage lies in their classification.
Sports massage falls under the clinical category whereas a relaxation massage, as its name implies, is more focused on relaxation and stress relief.
A clinical massage is a medical care delivered to a patient with treatment goals. Clinical massage is also increasingly being prescribed by doctors to complement traditional medical treatment of illness, injury and pain.
2. Therapists Use a Broader Set of Modalities for Sports Massage
During a sports massage, your therapist may use a variety of modalities such as remedial massage, myofascial trigger point therapy, lymphatic drainage and deep tissue work. At PhysioActive, our therapists may also utilise hot/cold packs, Electrotherapy and Ultrasound during your session.
Relaxation massage on the other hand, typically involves the application of gentle to medium pressure of the hands to the body. The tissue is gently manipulated by your masseur to promote relaxation.
3. Sports Massage Brings About Specific Benefits
Applying a sports massage after a heavy training can help your muscles to relax, improve circulation and restore flexibility. This allows for a quicker recovery and return to training without the usual stiffness and soreness. Sports massage has also been scientifically proven to boost performance and prevent injuries.
Relaxation massage on the other hand, is nurturing and promotes overall relaxation. It is one of the best ways to relax your mind and body after a tiring week at work.
4. Sports Massage Is Planned Based on Your Individual Needs
Clinical massage therapists are trained to provide advanced care for your health.
Consider a runner who is seeking out clinical massage to deal with his hamstring injury and a woman who is suffering from whiplash after a car accident.
A clinical massage therapist will have to approach these clients with their specific needs in mind.
5. There Are Long Term Goals Associated with Sports Massage
When it comes to clinical massage, there is usually a targeted plan with a goal that is based around a health outcome. As such, you may find a difference in the suggested frequency of your massage visits. A series of timed visits may be part of the larger plan to improve the specific medical challenges that you may be facing.
Among our regular clients at PhysioActive are also amateur and elite athletes who integrate sports massage into their training routines to help them perform at their peak levels.
This is certainly different from sporadic spa visits.
How PhysioActive Can Help
The key to athletic success is in giving back to your body regularly so that it may continue giving back to you.
Whether you are looking to recover from an injury or perform at your peak levels, PhysioActive is the place to go. Our massage therapists are trained to provide clinical massage with functional outcomes.
Contact us now to experience what sports massage can do for you.
This post has been written by Goh Yun Jie.