We keep getting calls from clients asking about the difference between sports massage and regular massage therapy. Many people are confused about the indication of sports massage and call in booking a sports massage after they walk out of the soccer field exhausted.
Regular massage therapy, as we all know, is a soothing manipulation technique working on mascular and other soft tissues to relax muscle tones, elongate muscle fibers, reduce pain and promote venous flow. Therefore, it puts our body into relaxation and unwinding from physical tension and mental stress. It fires up our parasympathetic system, so it gets us ready to sleep.
Sports massage, on the other hand, is a cheering-up manipulation technique working on our soft tissues and joint mobilization to build up muscle tones, help muscles' quick contraction, assist shortening muscle fibers, quicken our alert response to stimuli and get us ready for flight and fight. Therefore, instead of putting our body into "relax and sooth" mode, it wakes up our adrenal gland's secretion and fires up our sympatheic system, so that we get our body ready for battle.
Therefore, for those calls asking to book a massage after sports, what they actually need is not a sports massage but a regular massage therapy. Their body needs to relax, not to tense up for hockey the following week.
It is quite understandable that for most people, massage is supposed to be easy breezy caring slow strokes applied along muscles to put our minds into sleep. However, sports massage works just the opposite to what we have as a regular picture of a massage therapy.