Sunday, March 2, 2014

Is Sports Massage Different than Deep Tissue Massage?

Yesterday I had a couples massage on a regular client. Afterward, when washing up, the other therapist said that I had done one of the best "Sports Massages" she had ever seen.That compliment was funny to me, because I was doing much more rehab/injury type work than sports work. The client had been working with a Chiropractor daily for a week to resolve some severe lumbar pain and spasm.I was thinking way more about that situation, than preparing him to get back to training for the half marathon he has coming up, because his sedentary desk job was exacerbating the issue just as much as running would have.

I mention this, because I feel like there's a lot of confusion about "Sports Massage" and what that label means. To me, it is applying Myofascial and/or Neuromuscular and/or Structural/Postural and/or Flexibility and/or Flushing Swedish techniques to a specific soft tissue imbalance in a person who is doing something athletic. I also use this very same definition for "Deep Tissue Massage" except that the client may not be using his body for a specifically athletic venture. Sitting at a computer several hours a day isn't "Athletic," but it is using the body repetitively. Which is the unifying theme- Repetition.

There's not a list of secret "Sports" techniques that only apply to athletes. I'm going to do whatever kind of massage the client needs for the specific problem area. Problem areas usually come from some kind of repetition mixed with imbalance. When the body is not used to a movement and is then forced to repeat the movement, you create strain. After strain comes compensation by creating more imbalance. I'm going to look at any client who comes to me from that perspective; to unravel the compensation, imbalance and overuse to restore the optimal movement in the body. If you want to call that "Sports Massage," I'm happy to take the compliment. If you want to call that "Deep Tissue Massage," we are starting to speak the same language.