In this article I’m looking at Swedish massage vs Sports massage and the health benefits that each of these massage therapies have to offer. They are two very different forms of massage, but each has some powerful healing when used correctly.
While a lot of the techniques in each form of massage therapy are similar they serve different purposes. Choosing the right massage is very important to keep your mind and body in top shape.
Sports massage is designed to help you recover from sporting injuries and can resolve issues that a Swedish massage will not help with. Likewise, a Swedish massage isn’t going to help you rehabilitate a specific injury but provides a relaxing experience that’s hard to beat.
Let’s take a look at the specifics of each form of massage. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will be picking up the phone and booking yourself a massage!
What Is a Swedish Massage?
Almost everyone has heard of Swedish massages, even if you are just aware of what a basic massages is, this is probably a Swedish version. Most forms of basic massage therapy are derived from the Swedish massage and it’s the best all-around experience to give you a head-to-toe rejuvenating experience.
What to Expect from a Swedish Massage
If you’ve never experienced a massage, firstly you’re missing out on something special. Secondly, there is nothing to be worried about, it’s a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
Before your massage the therapist will have a brief discussion with you to make sure your health is ok to have a massage. You can check the contraindications and precautions to having a massage here.
This is your chance to ask any questions you have to make sure you’re comfortable and happy with what’s going to happen. It’s important your mind is in the right place when having a massage to get the most from the experience, so leave all your worries and stresses at the door.
A Swedish massage involves a little massage oil to allow the therapist to perform their techniques smoothly. They will use a combination of percussion, petrissage, effleurage, techniques, involving a wide range of hand motions. It’s not painful in any way, it’s a relaxing and soothing experience.
Health Benefits of a Swedish Massage
Swedish massage is one of the most popular forms of massage therapy because it has a wide range of health benefits. Some of which are:
- Improved blood circulation
- Release of natural ‘feel-good’ hormones
- Improved lymphatic drainage
- Release of muscle tension and tightness
- Mentally relaxing and mood-lifting
- Boosts all-around wellbeing and natural energy
This form of therapy crosses the physical boundaries into the emotional and mental too. Even if you are in excellent physical condition, if you’re under a lot of stress or feel anxious, you will gain a lot from a Swedish massage.
What Is a Sports Massage?
A sports massage is a form of massage therapy designed with techniques tailored to treat and heal sporting injuries. It’s not a form of massage therapy intended to relax you, like a Swedish massage, it’s intended to get you back to performing at your physical best.
You don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from a sports massage. Often, a doctor will refer a patient in need of this form of therapy, alternatively you can book a consultation directly with a therapist to discuss your injuries and needs.
What to Expect from a Sports Massage
A sports massage can be quite uncomfortable. Some injuries are deep-rooted in the tissues and muscles and need to be kneaded with some pressure. You can speak up any point if it’s too painful, but putting your faith in the therapist and letting them complete the session is in your best interest.
The therapist will work on the areas that need attention. They won’t be massaging you all over unless you specify this is what you want. You will feel sore for a day or so after. This is generally a good sign, it means your muscles are repairing.
Drink plenty of water after the session, and rest the areas that were worked on for a few days until you notice you’re feeling much better than before you had the sports massage.
Health Benefits of a Sports Massage
A sports massage can be used to treat a wide range of specific injuries, such as pulled muscles, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, as well as many other issues that may be restricting you from exercising or performing at your athletic best, including:
- Reducing swelling
- Relieving pain
- Increasing flexibility
- Working out knots and tissue damage
- Injury prevention
- Increases blood flow
- Increases lymph flow to flush toxins
Wearing compression sleeves on your legs or arms can also help recovery and increase blood circulation. Look into wearing one to compliment your therapy.
Swedish Massage vs Sports Massage
Looking at these two forms of massage therapy you can see they are for two very different situations.
A Swedish massage is awesome at helping you relax and giving you a physical and mental boost. While a sports massage is designed to help heal sporting injuries and correct physical issues.
Swedish massages are for you if:
- You’re new to massage therapy
- You want some rest and relaxation pampering
- Your muscles need a little care and attention
- You’re interested to know more!
Sports massages are for you if:
- You’re a professional athlete
- You have a sports injury
- You’re referred by a healthcare professional
Massage therapy is a great way to get your mind and body up to optimal performance. What sports massage therapists can do is nothing short of amazing, if you have any injuries or concerns then book a consultation to talk through what they can do for you.
You can’t really compare a Swedish massage vs sports massage as they are two very different forms of therapy. I hope this article has helped explain the differences between the two and which form of therapy is best for you.
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.