It’s so easy to count it out, but recovery is an important step of any training program. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the gym or getting ready to run your next marathon. Any kind of exercise puts your body through wear and tear, so you want to give your muscles and tendons the opportunity to properly repair. This is why many active people opt for a form of massage therapy called a sports massage. But what is a sports massage, exactly?
It’s not like the one you’d typically receive at the spa. Instead, a sports massage is a treatment aimed at preventing injuries and keeping you in tip-top shape. Here, you’ll find a list of the top benefits of sports massage, plus pro tips to know before you book your first appointment.
The first thing to know is that you can get one any time, but they can be especially beneficial before or after a big race or athletic event. While techniques used in a sports massage may sometimes seem similar to those used during a deep-tissue massage, the two have different end goals, says Beret Kirkeby, owner of Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage.
“For comparison sake, if you were offered a sports massage vs. a deep-tissue, the sports massage would probably take your [physical] activities into account and try to tailor the treatment to fit both the time and kind of activity, whereas a deep-tissue massage would be more about pressure and general lifestyle.”
Not to say you won’t feel pressure during a sports massage. While sports massages aren’t typically supposed to hurt, you may experience some tenderness and discomfort, especially if your massage therapist is working on an area that’s already injured, sore, or tight, says Kirkeby.
Now that you’ve got the basics, keep reading to learn more about sports massages from a licensed massage therapist.