Which type of massage is right for you?

What is the difference between sports massage, remedial massage, deep tissue massage and the relaxing massage you might get at a wellness clinic or spa?

Does deep tissue massage hurt? Is sports massage just for sporty people? Are they all just fancy names for the same thing? Well – not quite!

Our experienced level 5 Massage Therapist, Jacob, explains the key features of different massage types, and which one might work best for your needs…

So, you may already know that Massage therapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses manual manipulation of the body’s muscles and tissues to improve health and well-being. And that it has been used for centuries to treat a variety of health conditions, including:

– Muscle pain and tension 

– Repetitive strain injury

– Sports injuries 

– Back pain and sciatica 

– Neck pain and associated Headache

– Stress 

However, with so many types of Massage on offer out there, it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming trying to find the right massage style for us. This blog will help to give you some clarity and understanding around the different styles, and in finding just the right type for you!

We will start with an overview of some common styles, and there will also be a summary section at the end. Let’s get stuck in…

Sports Massage

Many of us associate sports massage as being a ‘no pain, no gain’ approach reserved for athletes, however sports massage can have vast benefits for the majority of us… tradesmen, desk jockeys, and stay at home parents alike.

Sports massage is commonly used to aid recovery from physical endeavours, however it can also be used to treat those niggling neck pains we get from sitting at a desk all day, or that small twinge in your shoulder that came out of nowhere when you were playing with the kids. 

Although admittedly, a select few of the deeper sport massage techniques can on occasion be a little uncomfortable, ultimately the goal of the treatment is to achieve both physiological and psychological relaxation and relief from any prior muscular discomfort. 

Remedial Massage

Similar to sports massage, remedial massage is used specifically in the treatment of injury and musculoskeletal pain or dysfunction. 

Very beneficial in the treatment of various issues such as: postural tensions from desk work, sciatica, chronic low back pain, neck pain at work, sporting injuries, shoulder and rotator cuff injury, repetitive strain injury, wrist pain, or injuries of the knees and ankles. 

Your therapist will take the time to listen to your concerns and the history of the problem, assess your posture, and complete a thorough joint and movement assessment – this is usually more in-depth than a typical sports massage session.

In addition to familiar massage moves, it is common for acupressure techniques, joint mobilisations, and assisted stretches to take place in a remedial massage session. 

Your therapist will also suggest specific exercises you can do at home to support your recovery. 

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is a general term encompassing a range of techniques that primarily aim to work into the deeper layers of the muscle tissue, to create deep relaxation within the muscles.

Although there may be a crossover between Deep Tissue and Sports Massage techniques, Deep Tissue massage will usually be given as a full body treatment. Perfect for those seeking a less targeted massage, to leave them feeling deeply relaxed, whether that be after a particularly stressful period at work, or after an intense exercise and training regime. 

Although provided with a firm touch, Deep Tissue massage should be pain free, leave your body feeling deeply relaxed, and your muscles loose.

Relaxing & Restorative Massage

Sometimes the best thing a massage can do is help you relax, switch off from life’s various demands and tune into how you’re feeling inside. 

Typically, a relaxing massage will follow a certain pattern of movements, making sure the massage reaches the majority of the body’s surface. 

With a focus on being restorative for mind and body, a relaxing massage will use less pressure than other massage styles. The focus of this style is to ease you gently into a feeling of calm and relaxation.

Your therapist might use a range of Swedish massage style techniques (long, slow strokes), alongside a number of other styles of longer strokes, to help you fall gently into a restful and restorative state.

Other Massage types

There are many other well known massage types, that all have their own individualities.

Lymphatic drainage massage is a very gentle specialist style that has the goal of circulating the body’s lymphatic fluids – often helpful with the reduction of Lymphedema symptoms.

Ayurvedic massage, for example, is used holistically in conjunction with other natural ayurvedic medicines. Ayurvedic medicine is used with an intention of balancing spiritual centres within the body. 

Thai massage is typically completed with you fully clothed, and consists of more pulling, stretching and rocking movements of your body. 

Ever heard of an Aromatherapy massage?

This massage type will be similar to the relaxing massage type, but will have a particular focus on the scents of the specific essential oils used. Depending on the oils used, the massage may be tailored towards having a relaxing or stimulating effect on mind and body, or aim to address a specific health issue or imbalance. 

Which type of massage should I have?

Whichever massage type you choose, it is helpful to know that massage is a great holistic treatment modality that can offer long term benefits, which will enhance and accumulate over time with ongoing treatment. To simplify the process of selecting the right type of massage for maximum benefit, consider your specific needs and goals. 

If you’re looking for relaxation, relaxing and deep tissue massage may be the best option. 

If you’re dealing with chronic pain or injury, remedial massage will be the best choice.

And if you’re an athlete looking to improve performance and prevent injuries, sports massage may be the best option. 

Of course, there is a natural crossover, so don’t be afraid to try something new. No matter what your needs, there is a type of massage therapy that can help you achieve your goals.

Hopefully now you’re geared up with some more knowledge about how different types of massage might help you on your journey towards optimal wellness… 

Now, time to find a clinic with a great reputation who can offer you the highest quality of service and expertise. Look for a clinic with highly qualified and experienced massage therapists who take time to listen to you, help you figure out what you need, and endeavour to provide you with the best quality of care.

Massage By Meadowside

At Meadowside we work together as a team to ensure the highest standards of care for you. 

We pride ourselves on the exceptional level of quality in our practice and in the diverse skill-sets and offerings of our therapists. Our massage therapists, Jacob and Ben, are qualified (and brilliant) in sports and remedial massage, deep tissue massage, and general, relaxing massage – and will often blend these techniques and approaches to create a unique treatment plan, tailored exactly to their client’s needs.

They can also use medical acupuncture where this is needed and desired, and will always give you some take-home advice and exercise ideas, to build on the good work and the results achieved in the treatment room.

Get in touch now to speak to a practitioner and find out more about how we at Meadowside can help you stay well, and achieve your goals comfortably, pain-free and injury-free.