Sports massage is specifically designed for people who are involved in physical activity. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to have one, it is also used by people who are active and work out often. The focus isn’t on relaxation but on preventing and treating injury and enhancing athletic performance.
A combination of techniques is often used. The strokes are generally faster than a remedial massage. Facilitated stretching is another technique commonly employed throughout this type of massage. It helps to loosen muscles and improve flexibility.
When soft tissues become knotted, restricted, tense or damaged; remedial massage can be very beneficial. Massage strokes can be gentle, strong, deep or shallow. Remedial massage holistically treats the body. As well as applying massage to the symptomatic areas, the massage therapist will endeavour to identify and target soft tissues that have contributed to the original biomechanical dysfunction, thus also addressing the cause of the symptoms.
Remedial massage uses several specialised techniques to locate and repair damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue/fascia. Massage therapy supports and speeds up the body’s own repair mechanisms. A lubricating medium, usually oil, is applied directly on the skin. This ensures good, continuous contact with the body so that the soft tissues associated with the disorder are deeply and consistently penetrated. Passive joint stretching moves can also used.
The main purpose of a relaxation massage, also known as Swedish massage, is to increase the oxygen flow in the blood and release toxins from the muscles. Some other benefits include a shortened recovery time from muscular strain, increased circulation without increased heart load, gentle stretching of ligaments and tendons, skin stimulation and soothing of the nervous system.
Relaxation massage reduces stress, both emotional and physical, and is suggested as part of a regular program for stress management.
This massage technique works on a system of long strokes, gentle kneading, vibration and shaking motions. Massage strokes are mostly applied in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart.
Relaxation massage feels calming and should not be at all painful.
Deep tissue massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. The massage therapist uses slower, more forceful strokes or friction techniques. These techniques can be applied along or across the grain of the muscle. Deep tissue massage is used in the treatment of chronically tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain injuries, long-term postural problems, restricted joints or sports injuries (in the non-acute phase).