Massage is so much more than just a self-care practice or a way to relieve tension caused by day-to-day stress. It’s also one of the absolute best ways to aid in recovery after intense workouts and promote healthy muscles that remain strong and flexible over time. Having said that, not all forms of massage are created equal, and different techniques may be more or less appropriate depending on your goals and where you are in your recovery process. Read on to learn more about some of the most common types of massage and what they’re best used for.
Swedish massage is the standard if all you’re looking for is to relax and reduce tension after intense workouts. It uses long, gentle strokes, combined with kneading and tapping techniques that help to increase circulation and flush out metabolic waste products like lactic acid that contribute to muscle soreness.
Deep Tissue Massage
For those with intense muscle knots and tightness from strenuous physical activity, deep tissue massage is typically the most effective option. By using more pressure and slow, firm strokes, the massage therapist is able to reach deeper layers of the musculoskeletal system, breaking down scar tissue and improving blood flow throughout the body. If you have certain medical conditions, just be sure to check with your doctor before receiving a deep tissue massage to make sure it’s appropriate for you.
Specifically designed to support athletes, sports massage focuses on preventing and treating sports-related injuries as well as enhancing athletic performance. It combines a variety of techniques such as stretching and deep tissue work to enhance recovery, reduce inflammation, and improve flexibility. If you’re a serious athlete or regularly put in long hours at the gym, consider making sports massage a regular part of your recovery routine.